I’d say my style is nonrepresentational, emotive, with an urban tone to it. There’s a sense of revelation…layers (which could represent anything, really) alternately concealed or revealed, a snapshot of an unfolding universe. Simultaneous composing and decomposing.
Details about the materials I use: I paint on canvas, wood and masonite. I use oil paint, polyurethane, both oil- and water-based enamels, wood stains, and dry mineral pigments with various media.
Why I create this type of art: It’s purely compulsive. It just happens. Unlike many areas of my life, I don’t intellectualize it unless I’m forced to (like now). I have to be unattached to the outcome in order to make anything at all. This busy brain of mine can foul up any creative pursuit with ruthless criticism and over-analysis. I follow the feeling of flow and unity. I’ve tried in vain to attach a conceptual identity to my work to make it more palatable to the art world. In truth the concept is me, you can know me by looking at my paintings. It’s a commentary only insomuch as it expresses my situation within a structure(s), never cool observation from a impenetrable castle of cultural critique.
Where I find inspiration: I can find inspiration anywhere…an idea, a conversation, the city. Probably most often I draw inspiration from my internal processes and the materials themselves. It’s as if they have a nature or a destiny that they want to express and the best I can do is get out of the way.
Which other artists or movements influence my work: I was influenced early on by Gerhardt Richter, those small scrapy ones that are nonrepresentational. Obviously Abstract Expressionism in all it’s manifestations have been the most influential. I hugely admire the Bay Area Figurative artists, Bischoff, Park and Diebenkorn. What they were able to accomplish with a few brushstrokes in terms of the figure and the mood of a scene is astounding to me. I’ve attempted to incorporate abstracted figuration in to my work but found my skill and my will to do so lacking. It turns out, my work is too esoteric for that.
What my intentions are for the work: One intention is to keep doing it. Painting is part (one of many) of my personal development…its a practice, like meditation is a practice that keeps revealing myself and the world to me and the world, Another intention is to use art to help people experience more free and expansive lives, where more is possible for them through some combination of art/coaching/bodywork/etc.
What led me to a career as an artist: It was like there was this alien beast inside of me, making me miserable with my life and myself until I let it out. I somehow knew that I needed to do something creative, I always wanted to be around artists and musicians. But, until I was 26 maybe (?) I thought it was writing or living a creative sort of life. I was terrified to make anything, to show myself in that way. One day, I said enough was enough and I went to the art store, asked the guy there what I needed to start painting. He was so kind and helpful…I wish I knew his name…It was Utrecht on University in Berkeley. And I just started glopping paint on canvas boards and making stupid geometric designs. It took a couple of years to make anything that felt authentic, that wasn’t just what I thought it should look like. The impetus for that trip to the art store was a book I was reading called The Power of Your Other Hand by Lucia Capacchione. It was so goofy, I felt ridiculous doing these exercises, but it made room or removed an obstacle of some sort.
Where I see myself as an artist in the future: I don’t presume to know how this journey will unfold, but I hope to sell my work and use my work with art to help people live more fulfilled lives. In my beautiful fantasy, there is a community space that houses studio/gallery spaces, therapy/coaching spaces, dance/yoga spaces, and some kind community service/outreach program. There would be lots of light and space and interdisciplinary co-mingling of ideas and activities.
Where I have studied: I haven’t really…I minored in Art Studio in college (printmaking and ceramics) but what I did there was mostly crafts…I didn’t consider any of it art. I’ve taken one painting class and one printmaking class since then.
where I have shown my work: Mostly restaurants, bars and boutiques so far…and wow, did my paintings improve the real estate!
In painting, we come up against ourselves in so many ways. First are ideas about what it should be. Next are judgments of ourselves that we can’t make it like it should be. Then, what would people think, what a disaster. What is beautiful? What is authentic? Then, how do I cultivate authentic. Then, how do I make myself start. How does it feel. Why do I do it? Is it meaningful? Does it have to mean something? It is a great resource because of all of these questions. I learn from painting every time I put on my grubby clothes and step into the studio, whether I actually paint or not. I think the biggest lessons have been letting go, not expecting an outcome, allowing the materials to be and do their nature, allowing the beautiful and divine pour forth through me and enjoying the feeling of it.
Lately I’ve been questioning why I do it (or don’t), what’s the point. I went down to the studio last week, for the first time in months. I didn’t have high hopes, I was dreading it. One little thing at a time, put on the headphones, choose some music (Radiohead channel on Pandora this time) put the paint on the pallet (some yellow first, alizarin crimson, white, yellow ochre, raw umber), pour the turpentine, examine the brushes, kick the dirt around a little, get into the song I’m hearing, thin out some white, add a little umber, a little ochre, thin it some more. And then I throw caution to the wind and put the brush to the canvas, swish it around a bit, add some more. And, UGGGH, that was the hardest part. Another hard part comes when I’ve done something that I like, but it’s clearly not done yet. There’s more to be done, but I can’t figure out how to proceed. I don’t want to ruin it.
Basically, I’m reminded of what I do. I’m shown how I bring forth the world I inhabit, and what that world looks and feels like, every time I go into the studio. Creating a space to do such explorations (and doing them) is something anyone could benefit from. There is such great resistance to in our culture and ourselves.