Visual artist and photographer Charlie White is known for his unsettling but poignant explorations of American life. His 2001 series “Understanding Joshua” probed self-loathing and detachment through the eyes of a grotesque character. 2006’s “Everything is American” added a touch of pathos to cultural touchstones such as the iconic understanding of primitive man. And 2008’s “The Girl Studies” explored teenage culture through a series of photos, a short film, and the animation “OMG BFF LOL,” based on a two-year study of one teenage girl.
His latest project, Music For Sleeping Children, continues to focus on the teenage girl, a central figure of White’s Americana. However, rather than render the girl in his trademark subversive, staged tableaux, he’s partnered with experimental hip-hop musician and producer Boom Bip (Bryan Hollon) to create an album that blends music and recorded voices of teens into a moving, insightful, and vulnerable account of adolescent girlhood.
A director himself–notable work includes his 2005 video for Interpol’s “Evil” and his 2006 Adidas adicolor film “Pink” is an early foray into the life of a teen girl–White collaborated with five directors to bring life to the songs. Tom Kuntz’s video for the track “Georgia” explores the complex nature of popularity. Star Rosencrans’ monochromatic type-driven piece for “Sabrina” is a poignant partner to the song about fear and expectations. Jacolby Satterwhite’s “Isabelle” is an abstract representation of a heart-wrenching tale of love and relationships. “Baylee” from Sammy Rawal is a pop-art expression of the track’s insight on peer pressure and social standing. And Molly Schiot’s video “Mik&Mel” is an adorable character-driven piece that perfectly accompanies the naiveté surrounding the idea of best friends.
The combined result is more touching and accessible than much of White’s previous work, and offers candid insight and understanding of the world’s most alien inhabitants, all while set to musically interesting tracks.