Photographer John Raymond Mireles has been on a three-year journey that has taken him to all 50 states and introduced him to more than 3,000 “Neighbors” as he has wound his way through small towns and large cities creating over-sized photographic portraits of the diverse faces that make up this country.
His next stop will be Saturday, Nov. 9 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Studio Channel Islands Art Center (SCIART) in Camarillo, where he will photograph volunteer participants from around Camarillo and Ventura County to include in his exhibition. Interested participants can contact SCIART in advance by clicking HERE or visit the gallery on the day of the event. Mireles will exhibit a selection of the Nov. 9 portraits as a companion exhibition to his full “Neighbors” exhibition in Camarillo in fall 2020.
The “Neighbors” project began in San Diego’s Barrio Logan community with a visual display of Mireles’ own neighbors along the fence outside his home. His goal was to bring a sense of belonging to the neighborhood. This initial work has grown into a travelling exhibition of 86 portraits of Americans from all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) and is displayed on fences and walls in politically and geographically diverse communities throughout the country, demonstrating that fences provide an opportunity for connection, not division.
Mireles, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been documenting the American experience for more than 25 years. A professional rock climber, Mireles began photographing his fellow climbing partners for renowned sports magazines which led to work with advertising agencies across the country and recognition and awards from the Creative Show and Communication Arts. After years of commercial work, Mireles turned his lens to narrative-driven projects exploring social justice. One of his earliest series in this vein, Invisible River, used environmental portraiture to highlight the economic disparity of individuals living in a string of towns that line a highway in the Southern California desert. Subsequent projects include photographic explorations of the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and the tracing of his Hispanic roots in the Tularosa Valley of New Mexico. Mireles divides his time between New York City and San Diego.
“John’s work is a wonderful celebration of the individuals that make up a community, said SCIART Executive Director Peter Tyas. “Our faces reveal a lot about who we are and what it has taken to shape us and John’s portraits capture those stories and memorialize them. We live in a world that seems to be moving ever more quickly and with fewer and fewer opportunities to meet one another. John’s work is the antidote, an invitation to come to a community space and connect with the people that surround us but are often invisible.”
For more information, visit http://studiochannelislands.org/ or call 805-383-1368.
Studio Channel Islands Art Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the arts and creative life within the communities of Ventura County, fostering connections between artists and visitors, and celebrating the cultural identity of our community. Ongoing programs include art classes for adults and children, providing studio space for professional artists, presenting diverse art shows in its Blackboard Gallery and providing community art and cultural events for individuals and families. Gallery hours are Tues.–Fri., 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Located at 2222 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010.