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“How to be Human” is the printmaking thesis that I completed over the course of my last year of undergraduate work. It is composed of relief, lithograph, and intaglio prints. GUTS is the name of the group show in which I presented this project, put on with Justin Hein, Taylor Bultema, Alex Kaufman, and Ronan Lynam at the Yellow Barn in Ann Arbor. We handled all press and promotion for the show, as well as the preparation of the space.

My short artist statement about the work is this: “How to be Human” is a collection of prints and instructions explaining the best and only and many ways to be human. Do it right, don’t do it wrong, and if you insist on doing it wrong, do it somewhere else, and make sure it’s the right somewhere else for the nature of your doing it wrong. This is how to be human.”

The text that reads throughout the installation is as follows:

This is how to be human. Keep your hands to yourself. Be likable. Be attractive. Touch each other, but not too much. This is how to show someone that you care about them. This is how to be stoic. Be mysterious. Be straightforward. Don’t be too feminine. Don’t make other people uncomfortable. Don’t talk about things that other people don’t want to hear. This is how to censor your thoughts. This is how to look nice.  Don’t think bad thoughts. Which thoughts are the bad ones? When you think them, do your fingerprints change shape? Do the chemicals in your brain mix up, bubble and fizz right out of your ears and into your eyeballs? Don’t talk to people who have bad thoughts. Don’t breathe the air they breathe. This is how to be in love. This is how to pretend to be in love. This is how to be the type of person other people want to love. This is how to smile convincingly. If you’re sad, it’s because you’re not working hard enough not to be. Or maybe you’re having too many bad thoughts. This is how to put lotion on your dry skin. This is how to put mascara onto your eyelashes. This is how to be religious. Understand that your traditions are better than the other traditions. This is how to have doubts. This is how to act like you don’t.  This is how to condescend. This is how to be better than everyone else. Don’t act like you’re better than everyone else. This is how to deserve to be condescending. This is how to be an individual. This is how to make your family proud. This is how to be an adult. Do not drink too much alcohol. This is how to act sober when you shouldn’t be drunk. This is how to act drunk when you shouldn’t be sober. Do not drink alcohol when you are having too many bad thoughts. Do not skip a party just because you are having bad thoughts. Are you still the kind of person who has bad thoughts? This is how to be beautiful. Make sure that your bandaids match your skin tone. If bandaids don’t come in your color, change your color. This is how to put chemicals in your hair. This is how to put chemicals on your face. This is how to put chemicals in your blood. Don’t make excuses for having bad thoughts.  Come from a family that will push you towards success. What does success look like? This is how not to ask stupid questions. This is how to sit up straight and drink glass after glass after glass of water before you eat to fill you up. Don’t act like you are trying to impress anyone. This is how to impress everyone. This is how to be part of that group of everyone. This is how to have veins full of blood. Don’t have blood polluted with bad thoughts. Does that happen? This is how not to get sick. This is how to look good when you sneeze. This is how not to sneeze. Doesn’t everybody sneeze? Brush your hair and wear deodorant. This is how to be humble. This is how to have fingernails. Doesn’t everybody have fingernails? This is how not to ask stupid questions. Brush your teeth twice every day. This is how to pray. This is how to look other people in the eye. This is how to perform a firm handshake. . This is how to know that your religion and the other religions are not the same. This is how to have good thoughts. Doesn’t everybody have good thoughts? This is how to know which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad. This is how to have 10 fingers and 10 toes. This is how to be human. This is how not to get bodily diseases. Don’t touch too much. This is how not to get mental diseases. Don’t think too much. This is how to balance your budget. This is how to act responsibly. This is how to survive without health insurance. This is how not to get sick. This is how to sleep at night. This is how to close your eyes and see demons. This is how to close your eyes and see friends. This is how to close your eyes and see nothing at all. This is how to be human. Don’t gossip about your friends. This is how to clean out your ears. This is how to clean under your fingernails. Do people clean their ears every day? This is how not to ask stupid questions. This is how to be human. Don’t let the bad thoughts turn you bad. Which thoughts are the bad ones?