In 2011, a woman named Erin Hart stole artist Jessamyn Lovell’s wallet, and eventually her identity, racking up credit card charges, parking tickets, and even a theft charge in Lovell’s name. As an act of retribution for this infuriating and frightening experience, Lovell created an art exhibition called “Dear Erin,” featuring documents, surveillance photos, videos, and interviews documenting Erin Hart’s crime spree. Hell hath no fury like a woman with a stolen identity.
“Using a camera and occupying the varied roles of victim, stalker, investigator, artist, spy, and vigilante, Lovell offers a body of work that touches on contemporary concerns of surveillance and selfhood within the information age.”
The thoroughness of “Dear Erin Hart” is impressive and somewhat alarming. In the attempt to “[understand] this woman and the course of events that brought their lives together,” Lovell hired a private investigator and even photographed Erin Hart being released from jail, a series of photos that are disturbingly stalker-like. The project was exhibited at SF Camerawork from September 3 – October 18, 2014.
Now, in a continuation of the project, Lovell hopes to contact Erin Hart in order to deliver a letter she’s written. She’s raising money for her trip (from Albuquerque, NM where Lovell lives to San Francisco, CA where Hart lives) through the sale of her own photos on Etsy and using a crowd funding campaign posted on her Facebook page.
“Lovell says that her hope is to reach out to her identity thief one more time in an attempt to get her most burning questions answered. Lovell also says that even if her attempt fails and Hart refuses to talk to her, she will at least know Hart knows of Lovell’s existence. She also hopes that Erin Hart will accept the invitation to allow Lovell to interview her and agree to be recorded.”
Erin Case stole Jessamyn Lovell’s identity, time, and peace of mind. Lovell, in relentlessly pursuing her thief, robs her of her anonymity.