By Hannah Eubanks | firstname.lastname@example.org
BILL Tite, assistant professor of art at Adams State Univsersity, graciously took a break from his busy lesson with students to talk about his new art installation. American Identity is on display in front of the Art Department building on campus.
Why did you start this installation?
Everyone is picking sides, I’m (the real) American, no I’m (the real) American, so I was thinking, everyone wraps themselves in a different kind of identity. I was thinking about tolerance and acceptance and being open minded and so I thought, “I’m going to do a bunch of flags.” In a dream, the flag was saying, “you gotta help me man, I’m getting kicked, I’m getting beat up,” so this is my way of helping.
What were you thinking when making these flags?
I’ve never sewn anything in my life, so I learned how to sew. I had nothing in mind when I made them. When I got here (Adams State University), things were still hot, politically. Tons of young people are not voting for whatever reason, so I wanted to encourage voting. I thought if I had a flag out or a bunch of flags it would encourage conversation and get them interested in voting. Each year that I’ve been here, three years, I put them out in different places.
What is the reaction?
I didn’t make any of these to make anyone angry, to make anyone pissed off.
I was talking to a veteran and he said “this isn’t a flag I would salute to,” and I thought fair enough, “but it is part of the reason I was in Korea so that we could do this,” and I thought that’s kind of cool, that’s freedom, that’s tolerance. Everyone is kind of like “I like them, they’re colorful and cheery, thanks for letting me wear them,” mostly good reception.
How do you think these will encourage young individuals to go out and vote?
It’s a stretch. They’re a variety of American flag, well they’re not American flags because they aren’t the right colors, but there are different varieties. It’s thinking about being American, being a young American, but how does that get to voting? It doesn’t get there without a prompt. It’s a jump. There’s nothing here that says vote, but it’s about the association. They’re educated, they know what’s going on.
What do you hope people take away from this?
That they think about their identity as an American and how does that play into their everyday life? It’s really as simple as that.