Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Hi Fructose Interview
Last year I had the honor of being interviewed by Annie Owens over at Hi Fructose. In case you didn't see that interview I thought I'd share it here. It's the 13th volume of the magazine.
• What kinds of things are you exploring right now in your work conceptually? I know you said the four new paintings in your “Daughter’s” show was decidedly feminine – what brought you there?
My work is definitely narrative. But I'm playing with how much of a narrative some of the paintings are. I think some have more of a story and some are more iconic imagery. A few things lead me to doing feminine pieces for my recent show at Roq La Rue. Artists have been inspired by the female form for a very long time. I'm no different in this respect. Another factor was the theme of the show I was going for. In some respect I wanted something related to the idea of Mother Nature. Also, and I feel strange admitting it, but one of the things I sometimes struggle with is the unseen pressure from what I think collectors and people in general like or want to see. I think people like imagery of beautiful women. And that's great because I love painting them. However, I don't want to pigeon hole myself into being an artist that paints only one thing for the sake of making money. So I try to stay true to what I like to work on and experiment with. However, I also realize I need to sell work and pay bills so I can continue painting. Having a show is nerve wracking. Having work not sell can mess with your head and you start asking yourself "why isnt' this selling". Even if you're quite pleased with how the work turned out there's that unseen pressure that may lead one to second guessing their self and their direction. One good thing I’ve noticed is that with every piece I finish I gain a little more confidence in myself. And that allows the evolution of my work to progress a little more freely.
• What are some of the things you’ve learned transitioning into galleries from work as an illustrator?
Right now I’m still really enjoying the artistic freedom I have. With illustration one often gets a deadline that’s two or three weeks away. It’s easy to get started and stay busy because the deadline is right around the corner. External deadlines are major motivators. I’m still learning how to deal with a different and distant deadline. I experimented with working on several pieces simultaneously. I think this is great for learning and growing from your work. Anything I learn from painting “A” I can can instantly apply to “B,C”, and “D”. It helps to do all the research and prep work for all the pieces at the same time. This way I don’t lose my momentum as previously I would finish a piece and then start over with all the prep work again. It’s also been helpful to switch up on paintings every few days to keep from getting burned out on a single piece. Previously I would finish a piece, scan it, email it, and be done. Now I’m also adjusting to the extra time I need to get reproductions, framing, packaging, and shipping. Unlike many illustration deadlines there isn’t normally any flexibility to a gallery opening. Another difference is the amount of work you do. In the gallery scene I’ve learned it’s possible to over saturate the market. That can devalue your work. Especially if you still have a lot of unsold work. In illustration I’m not sure that would be a bad thing.
• Your work appears to be more psychological and emotional in nature rather than say, political or social commentary. What are some things, interests, hobbies, thoughts outside painting that wind up feeding the content of you work?
It could be anything really. Random things will trigger an idea that I’ll have to scratch out quickly before I forget. Though my work tends to be cathartic and my relationships tend to filter into the work subconsciously. I think that’s fine. I don’t always know what something means as I’m doing it. I’m not sure it has to mean anything. I also don’t want to over do a painting conceptually, as it tends to come off too contrived. I have an artist buddy who will comment on my paintings as I’m working on them. He’ll give me his unsolicited interpretation that goes something like “this is you. That is a projection of so and so..” etc. And I’ll nod and say “maybe, I dunno”. A few days later I’ll look at the work and it’ll hit me “Damn, I think he nailed it. I am a robot.” These are always personal paintings never commissioned jobs. It can be difficult to be objective about your own work especially as you’re working on it. But I’m learning to trust my gut and intuition a little more.
As far as other influences. Perhaps the fleeting moments in our daily lives. Someone waiting or seemingly lost in thought. Sometimes these moments can be quiet and yet dynamic and revealing. This is a little different than the work I’ve just completed but it pertains to ideas on the back burner I plan on revisiting.
What else do you like to do there in Columbus besides paint?
I think I’m a pretty average guy. When I have free time I like to go out and have a drink with friends, sketching at coffee shops or bars. I have a lot of plants at my house that I like to take care of and I also love bon fires in the backyard. That may be a small town mid-west thing. I think like many other artists I can sometimes get caught up in the studio for weeks. It’s not until I’m out having a drink and relaxing that I realize I really needed to get out of the house. This may also strike people who only know me from my work as unexpected. I grew up surrounded by hip-hop. I used to break dance not so long ago. I think it’s a great form of expression. I was never into battling however. And I love a good MC battle. Clever word play right off the top is great. Plus who doesn’t like a little shit talking and some mama jokes? So I guess after a major deadline if I could have a sketch pad at a bar where people where breaking and battle rapping I’d probably have a pretty good night. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of venues for said activities here in Columbus. So most of the time you can find me in my studio.