“Out of Many, One” by artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada

“Out of Many, One” by artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada


For this project, the process started once
we knew what we might be able to do it. I walked around the National Mall taking photographs of guys, and I was able to get a lot of different people from different backgrounds. I was literally looking on the internet and I came across Jorge’s site, and I saw “Wish”, the big project in Belfast, and I thought this is incredible. This is somebody who is obviously thinking about what is a portrait but in a
way that is involving an entire community. Once I had all the images from the people
that I photographed, I started breaking those down into elements that I liked from each
one, the chin, the mouth, the nose. The portrait gallery is changing, it’s not just about the traditional pictures and paintings and sculptures on the wall, of course we have that. It is
somewhere where you can come and expect the unexpected. One of the things that I wanted to do is to take it away from one person and really turn it to everyone’s story. The reason why a face, why do a portrait, it has to. So now we’ve got in theory an artist and we have a place to put a picture but you need 2 thousand tonnes of soil, 800 tonnes of top soil, 315
truck loads of sand and 120 truck loads of dirt approximately. The way the piece is created
is you have to cover the whole thing with sand, that’s the light tone, and then you
have the (inaudible) come on. We found the steps to take the data from art into the CAD world,
and then use that computer image to cut out here with our gps receivers to put it under
the ground. Each vector is a peg, put that in to connect it with string and that delineates
where our soil goes or (inaudible). We’re using probably around 10 thousand pegs and about 8 miles of twine. Gps topography technology has gotten to the point where it is so accurate. Taking
a piece like this and bringing it to this huge scale, it will look just like it looked
on my computer screen. That process then allows the (inaudible) to come in. Here, we’re using tread (inaudible), which is great cause they leave no ruts and they slowly just fill in those lines.
Hopefully, with the amount of volunteers; today we have 40 volunteers, I will be able
to get about half the phase done where all the lines are clean. That’s the process. On the National Mall, I think 99.9% of projects get turned down. It really is a credit to the National park service and to the trust for the mall, they simply love this project and we were looking over our shoulder going: Are you talking to us? And they said we love this project. What better place to do this than right here on the National Mall, where people from all walks of lives and all nationalities and all races have come together. The National Mall is everyone’s front yard in America and I think this project is a beautiful representation of that. This is something that has never been done before and we wanted to be involved
with it. This is not the kind of thing that happens because I want it to happen. Companies and people who give donations and volunteers come together to make it happen. One of the things that I find beautiful is the experience when you walk through it. The portrait becomes secondary to the zen garden feel, that’s something I really enjoy. I think any artist, especially
a portrait artist has a little bit of themselves in everything that they do and this one (inaudible) a little bit more and also because it is also my story, Coming when I was 3 years old from Cuba, growing up in New Jersey, meeting so many diverse people from many parts of the world. You will be able to enjoy the piece for about a month, walk through it, see it
form the Washington monument, images from space, and then it will be blended back into the location and let it be a fond memory. We’re moving into a new age of what a national portrait gallery is, what it does and how it can change people.

2 thoughts on ““Out of Many, One” by artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada

  1. Ohh the carbon footprint from all those dump trucks.  sob

  2. Absolutely AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!

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