Susan Bickford MFA ’01
Susan Bickford has been a full‐time practicing artist for over 25 years, often working in Digtal Media, creating installations that utilize video, animation, sound and theater. She is an Adjunct Professor of Visual & Electronic Art at the University of Maine at Augusta, besides teaching at MECA&D and the University of Maine at Orono. Her practice has a strong emphasis on collaboration, as evidenced by the Collaborative Portrait Projects: Farmers Edition exhibit at the University of Maine at Augusta’s Danforth Gallery,which featured ten large‐scale portraits of local organic farmers produced collaboratively by 200 students from ten area schools. Susan was a driving force behind the project and the opening featured an actual farmers market. Each portrait began with a photograph of a farmer that was enlarged and divided into a grid of 36 squares. Individual students used a variety of techniques to interpret each square, before they were reassembled to create the final portrait. “The project allowed students to experience the transformative power of assembly and offered an opportunity to incorporate civic lessons into art techniques and vice versa,” said Susan.
“Epic portraiture throughout most of history has been reserved for monarchs, religious leaders, and the very rich. Images of the few, commissioned by the few, made by a master. In contrast, making portraits democratically, in collaboration, has the potential to redefine how we see ourselves right now. This is a radically different model, many with many, not icons but locals, not virtuosity but inclusiveness, not complete but to be continued. The collection of portraits serves to empower through involvement, and make visible and accessible an index of hope.”
“Growing up in Maine, I have always been involved in the community and with the environment. But teaching and working on these community projects have deeply invested me in a much larger community. I have touched thousands of people ‐‐ it is a privilege. And they have touched me. Making art is energy, it is powerful and it is magic, especially when we do it with intention and love.”