Digital Inkjet on Prospro Paper / Newsprint

Kirouac’s print-based project Papermen raises compelling questions around what constitutes portraiture, who defines community and the value of the art object. After moving to North Carolina from Winnipeg in 2008, Kirouac began to observe (and search out) a new community to connect with, outside the high-art hierarchy prevalent in her new home, still rooted in quiet racial segregation. She found this humanity in an unlikely place, with newspaper ‘hawkers’ who sell the Winston-Salem Journal at intersections around the city. Although different than her in almost every way, she felt compelled to engage and make ‘visible’ these men through an unconventional photo portrait project. Kirouac enlisted a layered process, meeting each paper man at their location, some brief encounters and others that developed into long friendships. Kirouac captured them digitally at their location, expanding this experience through a printing process that merges portrait, subject and the object they sell.



On Sunday June 24, 2012, the project Papermen came full circle when the Winston-Salem Journal published an intense single image of newspaper hawker appeared as a full double-page original limited edition in the local news section.

Art is normally encountered by those who seek it out. This original limited edition image created a platform beyond the gallery exhibition, where art entered the lives of an unsuspecting public of 50,000 in circulation that Sunday. This first time action provoked curiosity and questions, in a context only the newspaper as an object could provide. By placing this artwork in the pages of the daily news, it raises questions such as: Is it news? If so, what is it telling us? Is it an advertisement? If so, what is it selling? If this image is none of these things, what is its purpose? This hawker’s piercing gaze into the reader challenges the public’s perception of all of these aspects of communication, and that ‘seeing’ and connecting with the familiar from a new perspective can become part of everyone’s everyday.