For the last two weeks, we have felt a certain paranoia under the watchful eye of Tes One‘s “Taking Tree” currently hanging in The Stencil Show. The piece makes us feel as though Big Brother was constantly peeking over our shoulder. This unsettled feeling is exactly what Tes One wanted, which we discovered by asking him a few questions about the piece. Read on for a recap from the artist.
Title of the work:
What sparked the idea for this piece?
Against my better judgment, I was in a dreaded Wal-Mart parking lot when I noticed the ridiculous amount of surveillance cameras placed on the edge of the building and on top of the light posts. The amount of cameras was obscene, and ominous. At least 3 cameras surveillance-ing any particular area of their property. One look up at all those cameras, and the idea found me.
Where did this image come from?
Once I had the idea for the painting, I starting taking pictures and gathering images of security cameras. I’m sure this behavior looked suspicious on all sorts of cctv systems in my area.
How did you create it from start to finish?
How long did it take you?
Approximately 2 months.
What meaning do you ascribe to this image?
When I was a kid, my mother read a book to me by Shel Silverstein called The Giving Tree. It is a story about a tree that loves a little boy and will give him whatever he wants (shade to sit in, apples to eat, etc). The book marks my first comprehension of selflessness, and has resonated with me throughout my life. I named this painting “Taking Tree” because it provokes the exact opposite emotion. For me, this tree is cold, violating and an intrusive reminder of the type of reality we now live in. I think it also captures the absurd lengths companies or communities will go to appear “safer,” while collecting as much information as possible on their public.