Local News

February 27, 2014

‘Embracing my roots’

Artist showcases northwest Georgia in book, exhibit

For a long time, Jordan Scoggins ran from his background.

“I bought into the stereotypes,” he said. “I thought I am this backwoods hick. I was afraid of that for a long time.”

For years after leaving north Georgia for a life in New York City, Scoggins didn’t want to face that his roots are tied to a farm in a rural area. The interdisciplinary artist who now lives in Greenwich Village was born in Dalton and grew up on a farm in Villanow.

“I’ll be 35 this year,” he said. “As I moved into the middle of my 30s, my perspective on my own life has changed a lot. That’s why I did ‘Jordan’s Journey.’ I started embracing my roots.”

“Jordan’s Journey” is a book published in 2012 that explores Scoggins’ heritage and family. The book includes writings as well as photographs detailing his history and family connections.

“Jordan’s Journey” was a turning point for Scoggins.

“Now I embrace where I came from,” he said. “It’s an important part of who I am.”

His new project, “INTERSECTION,” uses the same concept of exploring who he is but through a different approach. This project is being released under the name luke kurtis.

Scoggins calls it an interdisciplinary project, featuring writing and photography. The project includes a book and an exhibit, which will be featured at the Massillon (Ohio) Museum from March 8 to April 19. The museum focuses on art and history. The exhibit showcases photos and information from Whitfield County as well as other counties in northwest Georgia.

“This show is the first time I’m exhibiting this body of work,” Scoggins said. “I would really like to show the work in other places. My ultimate dream is to come back and show it in northwest Georgia so these people could see it in person. They’re familiar with it, but they’d see it from a different point of view.”

“INTERSECTION” evolved from “Jordan’s Journey.”

“That project was very specifically about my genealogy and my heritage in a very literal way,” Scoggins said. “I was documenting the facts in a very literal way. It was very exciting and very successful. I wanted to approach the same subject matter, but in a much more poetic, subjective point of view.”

A lot of the material gathered, and a lot of the photos taken, for “Jordan’s Journey” didn’t make it into that book. But Scoggins still wanted to use that material somewhere.

That’s where the idea for “INTERSECTION” came from.

“From there I started collecting the images and thinking about what kind of story do I want to tell visually here,” he said. “There were a lot of images that I consider part of this body of work that aren’t in this show or in this book. I’m still working on it. Every time I come back to visit, that’s what I want to do. I feel like there’s a lot to explore there.”

Scoggins hopes this is the first part of a series that showcases northwest Georgia.

“I think that’s something I’ve learned over the years as an artist — writers write about what they know,” he said. “We use our imagination and come up with stories and things, but it’s always sort of rooted in who you are and your experience in life.”

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