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Joe Standart’s WE ARE – A Nation of Immigrants

Art Scene, DVS

Joe Standart’s WE ARE – A Nation of Immigrants

Joe Standart’s vision as a portrait photographer is inclusive, honoring the shared humanity and dignity of all people, including immigrants. His embrace of America as a country built by immigrants is spectacularly on view in his recent project, WE ARE – A Nation of Immigrants, part of an ongoing series of work produced by his organization, Portrait of America™.

Twenty-eight mural size photographs were installed on sixteen different buildings in downtown New London, Connecticut for the project. The extremely close-up portraits highlight the eyes of Standart’s subjects, intriguing viewers to engage with the work. The public art installation occupied several street level storefronts taking up over 1,550 square feet of space, with the largest image at approximately twenty feet by seven feet.

Standart, a Duggal client since the 1980s, worked with Duggal Sales Rep Marina Stark on the project, who has known him for nearly twenty years. Using high-resolution files provided by Standart, the images were printed on self-adhesive vinyl with matte U.V. protective lamination by Duggal production technician, Geoff Cresap.

The team’s biggest challenge was to make sure that when the portraits were installed they appeared sharp with no glare. To make that a reality, a matte lamination was applied to the surface of each image.  The installation of the artwork took place in three stages and was left covered until the project’s grand unveiling.

Standart’s goal of encouraging viewers to contemplate the lives of the individuals pictured in his portraits was undoubtedly a success. However, he also had another less tangible aim; to stimulate an open embrace of difference – or otherness – and the pleasures of an expanded worldview.