What is your philosophy about light and art?
Everything comes back to light for me. Light is the source of all color — it influences mood and builds drama.
How would you describe your artistic style?
If I could describe my artistic style in one word, it would be enthusiasm. I want to max out the level of energy that a single frame can hold.
The first step in my process involves research and observation (still life studies, drawing models, plein air painting, and photography).
The next step begins with asking a question that doesn’t have an answer yet. I need to break my subject open, collect the shards, and then reassemble them into a vessel that will carry the meaning and feeling that I want to convey.
The delight of discovery as I push the limits of the medium brings a playfulness to my work. Throughout my exploration process, I refer to color studies, sketches, and technical experiments that are tacked up all over my studio. These touchstones help keep me on track as I create.
There’s no easy formula to follow or a given metric for success. It’s a world where countless hours of painting can end up in the dumpster or a single brushstroke could make a masterpiece. My style is the result of a battle between the analytical brain and an impulsive spirit.
What are some of your favorite artistic techniques?
That’s a tough question because my techniques vary by medium and I work in a lot of different mediums. One focus, no matter which medium, is using mark making to express my personal visual language.
Mark making is central to my work. The speed of each mark, its shape, and intensity give important clues for the viewer’s eye to read. Marks build rhythm, carve out space, imply distance, and give structure to forms.
In block printing, everything is inverse and every cut becomes a white mark. I find putting a black wash on my block helps me see the impact of the marks while drawing with the blade.
I also explore mark making through sumi painting, a very juicy medium which can be incredibly challenging as every stroke is an irreversible decision. In contrast, drawing with big sticks of vine charcoal produces fast, broad strokes and delicate gradations of tone. It is easily erasable, allowing for drastic revisions. This is a great way to get ideas on paper very quickly.
What types of subjects do you gravitate towards and why?
I’m attracted to forms that convey energy. The current series of block prints and paintings that I’m working feature flowers built up with a dizzying onslaught of rhythmic marks. They seem to have an internal glow and emerge from energized backgrounds.
Floral art is often thought of as pretty and banal, but flowers really do have amazing forms and patterns. I seek out flowers offering a mix of strange, sensual, and terrifying or comedic shapes with intriguing subtexts because of their endangered status, symbolic associations, and medicinal or toxic properties. These back stories lurk below the surface of this series of work.