Untitled (Trophy Case), 2021
11 x 8½" Archival pigment print
9¾ x 6½" Image size
Edition of 22
Each print includes a certificate of authenticity, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.
About the Image
The vitrine pictured was found in the office of Valerie Daniels-Carter, a black woman who founded V&J Holdings Company, one of the largest restaurant franchise organizations in the country, and the largest to be owned by a woman. I encountered the case while on assignment for a story and found myself stunned by the personal and cultural significance of the shoes and their presentation. They were a gift from a local artist back when Ms. Daniels-Carter opened her first franchise, a Burger King, in 1983.
Standing in the office of the woman who’d built a restaurant empire from a single franchise location, I couldn’t help but think of Dylann Roof — the white man who’d murdered 9 black people in a church in 2015, and then was reportedly taken to Burger King by the police who’d apprehended him. I couldn’t resolve the deep adoration and grief I felt in that moment, but I knew I’d felt it before. That such a ghost could find its way into this space and this object which felt holy was a reminder that I will always be at risk of experiencing this mixture of feelings.
Even though the image wasn’t needed for the piece, I’m forever grateful that Ms. Daniels-Carter was gracious enough to allow me to make this image.
Nick Drain is a fine artist born in Chicago, IL, who lives and works in Milwaukee, WI. His work investigates the complex relationship between blackness visibility at the site of the camera. He has exhibited locally and nationally, most notably showing work at the International Center for Photography in New York City, NY, the Colorado Photographic Art Center in Denver, CO, and was named in the inaugural 2021 Silver List from the Silver Eye Center for Photography. Nick attended the Yale Norfolk School of Art in 2019 and received a BFA from the New Studio Practice program at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2020.