Sebastian Collett

North Carolina
Artist in Residence, 2016

Artist Statement

Vanishing Point probes memory and desire through encounters with people at pivotal points in life.

Growing up gay in a small college town in Ohio, the life I desired seemed always just out of reach. Twenty years later, a grown man yet still full of longing, I returned for my high school reunion.

Immersed in the landscape of my youth, I scouted for “stand-ins” for characters from my past. Archetypal figures appeared: those I had wanted, or wanted to be. In their eyes, I encountered my alternate selves. Meeting my gaze, they foresaw their own aging with curiosity and trepidation.

We stood at a crossroads—each of us perched on the cusp of becoming the other. I watched for moments of transition, when the subject seemed on the verge of becoming or vanishing. I photograph to describe these liminal states—evoking the eternal quest to situate the self in time.

While At Headlands

While at Headlands, I will edit and re-conceptualize a series of intimate portraits I’ve been making over the past three years. I will experiment with incoporating text and found imagery, as I prepare the project for a book publication and various exhibition formats. I look forward to discussions with the other writers and artists in residence, and I welcome their input and potential collaboration at this pivotal stage in my process.

I also plan to photograph in the Bay Area, and specifically at Headlands, making portraits of fellow artists and visitors. These images will focus on how people engage with the natural environment, and how the experience affects them on a psychological level.