Who or what is the biggest inspiration for your art?
I find a lot of my inspiration in the most common and everyday things and events. I am also always taking in interesting shapes, lines, and color interactions as I go throughout my day. Beyond that, I really get inspired, and motivated, by seeing other’s work. If a piece catches my eye, it almost always leads me in a new direction in my own work.
Please tell us more about your working process and the way you approach new artworks
I work on many pieces at once, each one in various states of completeness. Often times a painting will be started and then consigned to a pile of other work, or leaning along the studio wall, for an indeterminate amount of time, until i find it again and it feels like the time is right to work the piece more. Sometimes this can take many passes and months or even years. The one constant is that I almost always need a previous piece to provide the underpainting for what will be the final painting. After all this time and attempts at finding the right composition, the piece can often come together quickly and with minimal effort. It’s a strange thing, but one that I have developed out of necessity.
What motivates you the most in your artistic journey?
Discovering a new motif or direction in my work is one of the strongest motivators for me. Also coming back to work after it has been “finished” and seeing it again in a different light. The most fundamental drive for me is just the overwhelming urge to create–to make things. It usually manifests itself in painting and visual work, but I’m also constantly “making” in so many other mediums, too: music, words, and motion.
Who or what has recently impressed you?
I recently came across a book about the quilts and quilters of a small, fairly isolated African-American community here in the States called Gee’ Bend. It has a very long and productive quilting tradition, and these quilts are gorgeous abstract pieces that are both aesthetically magnificent, and functional, as well. Any one of them would make for a gorgeous large-scale abstract piece rivaling thoses of the 20th century. I highly recommend taking a look at them.
Which artist, dead or alive, would you want to have a beer with?
The painter William Scott, definitely. But I imagine instead of beer, it would be scotch.
How do you spend your free time besides artistic work?
Outside of painting, I also do a lot of work in graphic design; creating both digital art and working on various publications. In addition, I’m also a musician, and do a bit of work in other mediums like video and paper arts.
Do you have any dream projects in mind that you would like to do in the future?
I have been wanting to work on a mural for quite some time. Either interior or exterior; mainly because I find the scale intriguing. I feel like it would be really satisfying to see how my images and motifs work and interact in such an expansive area. If anyone has an area needing a mural, get in touch! I’d be happy to work anywhere in the world!
What is the significance of the handwritten “L” letter in your paintings?
I’ve been interested in incorporating handwriting into my work for quite some time now. Almost always, I am using it in a manner that is divorced from any meaning it carries as a letter. My intent is to utilize it in an entirely new manner, strictly as iconography. That being said though, the letter “L” in particular is the first letter in my wife’s name, and the last two letters in my surname. I think I am so used to writing it, that it slowly entered my work due to familiarity.
Many of your artworks have verbose, enigmatic titles. Are they meant to influence the viewer or tell a specific story?
I just read a quote recently, where the avant garde composer John Cage described music as “a purposeless play” and “a way of waking up to the very life we’re living”. I approach my work in much the same way. I’m not attempting to tell a story, so much as I’m creating work that speaks to me, and then letting it suggest something to me. And because of that, I often “discover” what the piece is about, and its title, after it’s done. The title then becomes a very important and necessary part of the piece, but it is also only a starting point, or framework, from which the viewer can make their own discoveries about the piece. It is in no way dogmatic, or an attempt to force a narrative on the piece. It is, rather, a continuation of the piece; a context for its content.
What is the origin of your idea of “visual poems”?
The idea of “ visual poems” is very similar to this in a lot of respects. I am constantly searching for a narrative in my work, even though it is all purely abstract; a story that is suggested, or hinted at, and is almost always something that is simple, routine, or unremarkable, yet does what good poetry does. It gets at the beauty in the things that surround us, and elevates these these things to a place that is poetic. Like most people, I can’t describe how that is, or even what it is, but that is what I strive for in my small lyrically abstract pieces.