I make art because I have to. I know this is an old cliche’, but then, so far, my life as an artist has been fairly boilerplate, and it also happens to be true. When I find myself in situations where my artmaking is put on the back-burner, everything else tends to suffer until I get back to the easel, where I unbottle at rates that can be shocking to the uninitiated. I am a painter, my medium of choice is acrylic on stretched canvas: acrylic for the technical challenge of using it well and for the ease of clean-up, and stretched canvas because I’m a woodworker in addition to an artist, and hand crafting my surface is part of my warm up process. Using traditional media and traditional surfaces helps me feel connected to those who came before me and cast their long shadows throughout the art world.
For years, my paintings were devoid of human subjects; landscapes and architecture that felt lonely and isolated. I recently decided that people were so important to story telling, that I couldn’t avoid them any longer, and that’s when everything changed. Empty stages with no cast of characters are a thing of the past, I now use my friends and family as my subjects, and I portray them in situations where they are engaged in their passions, or in settings that lend to an interesting narrative. Every painting ends up as a form of meditation on my subject, and if I must meditate, I choose subjects that inspire, or warm the heart, or make me chuckle in an empty room. I don’t believe that beauty should be the end goal of my work, but I do believe it should be beautiful.
Everything else is still an experiment, that I hope will never end. I’ve spent the last twelve years in front of my easel trying to learn the rules, continuing to hone my craft, while exploring as many stylistic, thematic, and color choices as possible, all while trying to tell a compelling story. It’s possible that a day will come when I’ve decided that I’ve mastered all the rules and then throw them all out the window, but doubtful. I tend towards representational imagery, fine tuning my understanding of light and shadow, form and composition, color and texture, all the things that artists worked towards for centuries before the abstract expressionists took center stage. I try not to make judgements on other people’s artmaking, but if one must reject the work of their fathers in order to make space for themselves, I reject the non-representational.