Recently, and by recently I mean three weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to hear Steve Prince himself give a lecture in Doty Tower Room. On my way to the lecture, I tried to think about what I would learn and how I could apply it to what I already know about Steve Prince and his works. By the time I finished hearing the lecture, I felt that Steve Prince both met and exceeded my expectations. I think it was because what I learned in that lecture was not only in connection to Steve Prince’s works but it also helped me to form connections in my own life which is what I will explain in this blog post.
Throughout the Kitchen Talk, Steve repeatedly provided explanations and interpretations of his works, from the meaning of a fern to why his image subject is sitting in a certain position. While I found this to be quite interesting, nothing compared to the connection I formed with Prince’s works on the basis of religion. Something I learned that I never really saw before the lecture was the fact that Prince’s works were often deeply rooted in religion. I feel as if that is something that is not as heavily touched upon in our class discussions of Steve Prince’s works. And found that interesting because many of his works have religious connections and meanings in which viewers would have to have some type of religious knowledge in order to understand. I didn’t really think of this as odd because I am used to a school system that avoids talking about religion and its beliefs as a way to avoid influencing individuals or making non-religious individuals uncomfortable. However, it got me to thinking. In dealing with artists such as Steve Prince who make religious connections through their artwork, are viewers more or less obligated to learn about the stories behind the works, in an effort to truly understand the works meaning?
As I sat in the lecture and heard Prince ask question after question about the religious ambitions and connections in some of his works, it occurred to me that maybe I didn’t have as concrete of an understanding of Prince’s work as I thought. I mean, if I even forgot the name of the person who led the march in the Battle of Jericho, how could I possibly deduct that in “Second Line: Rebirth” the trumpeters and their stance are derived from the Israelites as they marched around Jericho for the 7th time with their trumpets, waiting for Jericho’s walls to fall down? If I didn’t know Ephesians 6, how would I know that the letters “AOG” that is used frequently in Steve Prince’s works stands for Armour of God? I am not saying that everyone should delve into scriptures to understand Prince’s works but I feel that in class, we are always attempting to analyze Prince’s work but never think about the impact his religious background may have in his works. Just keeping this in mind as well as being open to learning about these religious influences, would help to better analyze Prince’s works.