This organic style of painting is absolutely the most liberating. I often feel as though my mind is absent of thought and I am channeling the energy of those that came before me. My emotion and focus on inner energy, and sometimes contemplation, create expressive, lyrical and thoughtful qualities in the paintings. The brushstrokes are similar to those of impressionists such as Monet and post-impressionists such as Van Gogh and Seurat, only tending toward abstraction. These paintings I dub “Pollack with a purpose” in that they begin as seemingly random abstraction but evolve with purpose and focus, often incorporating pointillism, into a much clearer vision of natural abstraction. In this method of painting I often feel like a third party watching someone else’s clarity unfold before me.
Pause. Look around you. We are in a state of looking down, glued to our smart phones and tablets. People sit next to each other on a bus completely disconnected from our neighbor. Isolated in our singleness and void of community. Reflection and silence are luxuries that are dying on the vine. I wanted to do a portrait of someone simply looking skyward, completely present and enlightened by the magnificence of the world around us. Although I want the viewer to connect emotionally to the piece, the structure is designed with specific purpose. After the initial portrait I began to think about how our brains process the hierarchy of visual information in portraiture. Is it any different than facial recognition software? By design, the lack of a central focal point causes the fewer to shift around the portrait experiencing it from different angles and viewpoints. This continual movement and lack of focus is designed to stimulate the occipital lobe causing the portrait to animate in the viewers mind. The portrait becomes ambiguous shifting from male to female and back again. As your brain tries to make sense of the piece the viewer can experience it as many people, familiar, old, young, Christlike. The fact that the eyes are looking skyward and the encroachment of the outside world invading the digital space in the form of flowers, birds and butterflies. I am enamored by that juxtaposition.
“Many people are so imprisoned in their minds that the beauty of nature does not really exist for them. They might say, 'What a pretty flower,' but that's just a mechanical mental labeling. Because they are not still, not present, they don't truly see the flower, don't feel it's essence, it's holiness-just as they don't know themselves, don't feel their own essence, their own holiness.” - Eckhart Tolle
In the past 20 years we have been exposed to so much visual information digitally that our brains easily understand linear representations as real imagery. We are constantly reconstructing or deconstructing imagery, digitally or mentally. The brain is able to correct and fill in the missing elements. Paintings can be transformed, deconstructed and reconstructed, rapidly digitally with computers. I had the desire to replicate the digital process through painting one day when a printer ran out of ink. The image was printing beautifully but began to break down revealing its linear makeup as nothing more than a combination of CMYK. I began to think of all imagery being reduced to its linear minimalistic linear form. Taking photographs of seascapes and landscapes, I reduced to the linear format after which a mathematical formula was applied to create the perfect digital representations spatially and visually. I then began to explore math’s influence on linear painting and wondered what the mathematical formula for Pi would look like. Assigning an RGB spectrum across digits 0 - 9 I was able to understand Pi visually for the first time. The painting was highly technical and repetitive and a homage to the great Agnes Martin.
Everything that happened before I was born is now available in a glossy media package. Stories are more eloquent, speeches are more amazing yet when juxtaposed against the current political and social climate, and it’s shocking how lame things seem now. Was it really as glamorous as it was presented to me or was it in fact no different than the events of today? I began to wonder what these people, who had been passed away before I was born, were like. I wanted to meet them in person and see if they were man or myth and what they would think about the world today. Starting with Lincoln, if I was able to reincarnate him, would he measure up to how I envisioned him? Would his fundamental values need to be modified, or even disregarded, based on the knowledge of today? What would he look like reincarnated? In my mind, I imagined a place, a laboratory or factory, with the ghosts of people undergoing various stages of reincarnation and I began to paint a series of images. I saw Lincoln being reincarnated out of metal, water, and wood imagining what he would look like at different stages of reincarnation.
For years I would gesso over these beautiful raw boxed birch panels as the beginning process for a painting. One particular day I was about to gesso over a new one. The sun coming through the window and hitting it at the right angle and reminded me of how beautiful the wood was. My father was a wood worker and I grew up understanding the different types of wood, grains, Stains etc. I was inspired to mix custom tinted translucent polyurethane and do pieces celebrating the timelessness of wood.
The process is time consuming and must be disciplined in order for the wood not to warp. Very thin layers are applied in high heat and low humidity. They must dry quickly and seal the wood or it will warp over time. This style must be painted in the desert. Emerald Isle was done outside in Palm Springs over the course of 10 days with temperatures over 100 degrees and humidity hovering around 5 percent. Perfect conditions. I also think creating something so green and visually vibrant in the arid desert environment is quite beautiful.
Life in 1974 was dominated by classic rock concerts, cinema, television and political upheaval. People had to go out for entertainment and enjoyed carnivals, picnics, amusement parks and road trips. The rubix cube was invented in 1974 and is the anchor for the piece. I wanted to create a 3-dimensional virtual city that would help bring to life the energy and graphic design celebrated during the height of classic rock. I was inspired by album covers, concert posters, fabric colors and combinations, typography and the great graphic designers of the time Olivetti, Milton Glaser, and Saul Bass. These were all influencers but I wanted to put a contemporary spin on the piece, well organized and with purpose as thought the unfolding rubix cubes were in the process of being solved. Pre Internet, television was the main source of at home entertainment. The front face of the central cube is made up 8 popular shows and 1 TV commercial. These shows either began or ended in 1974 and include, the Brady bunch (placed in the middle to suggest a cube within a cube) Good Times, Land of the Lost, Little house on the Prairie, Six million dollar man, Rockford Files, Happy days, and a popular dog food commercial. The average number of TV channels in 1974 in an American home was 9. The TV cube also doubles as the front of A Bart train, which began trans bay service between Oakland and San Francisco in 1974. Print advertising was huge at the time in the form of billboards, posters, and flyers. The popular toy magna doodle has been used as a city billboard to promote the biggest story of the year: The resignation of Richard Nixon. The pocket calculator was introduced & the number on the calculator is 4,000,000,000, which global population surpassed. To the left of that is a classic VW bug which represents both the lighter and darker side of 1974. 53 was the number of Disney’s race car Herby but the skull and cross bones in the driver’s seat are a nod to Americas most infamous Serial Killer Ted Bundy who claimed 6 victims that year. There are over 50 other parts and pieces to the puzzle but if I solved them all it wouldn’t be true to Rubik.
Iam fascinated with time, its relevance and context to people. I believe people base their entire lives and philosophies on 30 year time increments. You are who you because you are born into it, seeing the world and accepting your parent’s truths as your own leading to the juxtaposition of belief systems over time.” The passage of time makes us reevaluate our core beliefs fostering the idea of contextual ideology, moving people closer to the acceptance of not completely knowing any absolute truths. Visually reminding people of history makes them second guess their perceptions of time and their commitment to ideologies. Every year has a balance of light and dark. I research these for months before beginning and then proceed to architect the puzzle backwards.