sonder: the realization that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness; an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you will never know existed, in which you might appear only once as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway at a lighted window at dusk.
-from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows


The term “sonder” and its definition has only recently begun its course, clinging to the fringes of our expanding lexicon. You will not yet find it in the Oxford or Webster’s dictionary; rather, I found it and its origins in the online Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a collection of newly assembled words that seek to embody the more oblique experiences of (post)modern life. I appropriated this word for this series as a reflection of our ability to create meaning and also to explore portraiture in the context of social interaction. The following drawings are rendered by writing this text in repetition.

In 2015, I was commissioned to create site-specific, integrated artworks for the Crenshaw/LAX Metro project in Los Angeles. Ten new drawings will be reproduced on steel enamel and permanently installed at the Downtown Inglewood Station. They portray people with ties to the Inglewood community. It grows out of the first iteration of this drawing series that was presented as an installation at Papillion in Los Angeles.