This work started out as a way to memorialize my mom, who had recently passed away. I wanted to capture the importance humor played in her life, specifically how she taught my siblings and me to use it in navigating difficult times.
For the piece itself, I used thousands of handmade miniature party hats to map out portraits of each American soldier who died on my birthday during the Iraq War. I chose this subject because the war was the first world event I had had difficulty comprehending and dealing with after my mom's death.
Not surprisingly, the primary media sources that engaged my thinking about the war were "The Daily Show" and "The Onion". It was while watching the former and assembling hats that I had the idea for how to complete the piece itself. I took this as a sign of my mom's approval.