My parents named my brother, sister and me after the saint who's feast day we were born on. I was named Paul because I was born on the feast day of Saint Paul of the Cross (pictured at left). Saint Paul dedicated his life to the memory of the Crucifixion. He founded the Passionists who minister to the poor and marginalized, symbols of the crucified today.
In 1996, in the tradition of my patron saint, I started thinking about a re-telling of Christ's crucifixtion, commonly depicted in most Catholic churches as the Stations of the Cross. I looked at Renaissance paintings of the crucifixtion and looked to popular sources for a modern-day Christ figure. I gathered classic depictions, my own drawings, holy cards, and source material from newspapers. I collected this all in a big sketchbook. Two Lenten seasons came and went while my sketchbook grew. Ted Kaczynski was a front page story on Good Friday, 1996 and then on Good Friday, 1997, the leader of the Heaven's Gate cult was featured on the front pages.
I decided on a contemporary route for the crucifixion. Jesus would be sentenced at East High near our home. He gets his cross in McDonalds' parking lot across the street and he works his way down Main Street and gets crucified at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester. I take this route almost daily and was baptized at Corpus Christi Church (Station #7). I took some photos of the locations, one roll of slide film, and I chose settings for the fourteen Stations. Jesus is sentenced at East High, gets his cross in McDonalds' parking lot across the street. He works his way down Main Street and gets crucified at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester, New York.
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Lent, 1998 rolled around and I was overwhelmed with source material. I assembled the key elements in fourteen digital files and printed 21" x 28" digital prints on watercolor paper at Scale 2. I called them "Passion Play" and showed them at the Bug Jar during Lent 1998. I entered them in the 1999 Rochester Finger Lakes exhibition and they won the Averill Council Award and the Harris Popular Vote Award.
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