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Glove

Jay Sullivan

When I was five years old, my father suffered a bipolar breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric institution. It started him on a long descent from top IBM salesman to homeless on the streets of Brooklyn some 20 years later. Our relationship followed a similar trajectory. When he died we had spoken only twice in his final ten years.

I began Glove seeking to reconnect with my father by photographing the childhood objects that I most associated with him. Over time it became a journey into the emotional core of these objects, unearthing the feelings and memories associated with a black wallet, wingtip shoes, zippo lighter, baseball glove and many other long forgotten items.

The project was complicated by the fact that my father died indigent and I had very few items actually owned by him. I spent countless hours digging in thrift shops, at flea markets and on eBay looking for objects that connected him to me. I bought and photographed many items only to reject them later. I searched period advertising and publications looking for clues as to what was the right watch or the right hair crème. His objects became my objects as I sported a class ring and carried a black wallet until they were sufficiently worn.

The process was integral to the work and photographing these adopted objects resulted in a rich, visceral connection between me, the objects and long buried memories.  Many of the memories were traumatic, connected to my father, the tragedies of his life, and the beliefs of a 5 year old child who thought it was all his fault.  Glove helped me discover that fear confronted leads to fear released.  I hope you find the same.

Check out all the images here, http://jsullivanartist.com/portfolio-landing-page/

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Comments

I'd like to read more of your fathers story. I suffer from bipolar disorder, luckily managed by medication, and my biggest fear ha always been that the illness would envelop my life and I would end up like your father. tell us about the story of your father.

Max - the artist lists his contact information on the website http://jsullivanartist.com/contact/

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