The Materials of Survival

Solo Show – Materials of Survival – Magnet SF – November 2015
Prints from my Materials of Survival and Am I Blue? series – for sale
Materials of Survival Artist Book

This project was originally called ‘Am I Blue?’, but has broaden to create two bodies of work:. The new body of work is called “The Materials of Survival” and uses the drugs and other paraphernalia that HIV+ people needs to interact with in order to live with this disease.

The effects of years of struggle, uncertainty and survival has creating unexpected symbols and unforeseen reactions. Visual images capturing different aspects of being positive. How the antiviral cocktails achieve a larger meaning and a grander design. Memories of a test changing everything. Understanding communications typed in a foreign syntax necessary to live, How the old practices of safe sex have opened up with new horizons.

In their exhibition, Camerawork describes my work as: 

San Francisco-based artist Grahame Perry will present his series titled Materials of Survival. This ongoing body of work is a highly imaginative reconfiguring of the visual elements in the life of an HIV-positive survivor. Perry’s at times fantastical depictions of pills, bottles, prescriptions, vials, and other paraphernalia provide a colorful but poignant visual vocabulary with which the artist tells his own story of struggle, uncertainty, memory, and survival. Perry’s work playfully combines graphic and symbolic photographic elements in the creation of abstract images that represent the very real process of the artist’s own quest for meaning and strength in the battle against HIV.


Click the link to see a larger version of “Every AIDS Obituary“.    

The original name of the project “Am I Blue?” will continue to be used to refer to the more autobiographical and personal work.

Some of the photographs from this series have been presented in the following shows and forums

  • Solo show, Materials of Survival, at SF Magnet in November 2015
  • Seven photographs were part of SF Camerawork’s “Long Term Survivor Project” (June 4 – July 18, 2015)
  • “Every AIDS Obituary” was selected for the jurored show, Connections: Glitter Bomb (National Queer Arts Festival, June 2015)
  • Editor’s Choice at LensCulture
  • 3 images were selected for the Visual AIDS’ (online) gallery show, HAART in Art (September 2014, Visual AIDS site).
  • Lecture for Photo 52, Photographers and Their Images at City College of San Francisco on September 16, 2013
  • “Big Pharm” was selected – New Visions @ Rayko Photo Center – Jan – Feb 2014.