Please give our readers a little bit of information about yourself.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1980 and raised in Pleasant City, Ohio. In 1998 I moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design, I graduated with a BFA in 2002. In 2007 I graduated from Indiana University with an MFA in painting. Currently I’m living in Roswell, New Mexico on a one-year fellowship.
I have a group show coming up at the University of Cincinnati DAAP galleries. Its in conjunction with the festival titled “I Gave Away the Sky”. This event celebrates the life, work, and legacy of the Beat poet Gregory Corso. The exhibition is titled “The Stars In The Sky Are Still Boss” the exhibit explores the spirit and aesthetic of Corso and it’s up from January 20th-February 6th. Some of the artists included in the show are: John Cage, Chris Johanson, Allen Ginsberg, Raymond Pettibon, Larry Rivers and others. Two drawings of mine will be in the exhibition.
Many of us don’t grow up with painting and art as part of our daily life. Was that your experience? How and when did you say, ‘I’m going to do this?’
There wasn’t much art where I came from. I collected comic books and drew copies of the covers. I watched a ton of television, especially cartoons. I wanted to be an animator for a long time. I knew that I was going to be an artist when I was around middle school age. I got my first oil paints when I was 12, and I hated them… They were Bob Ross brand. I studied commercial art my junior and senior years of high school. The program was pretty relaxed so I did drawings, paintings, and taught myself 3-D animation on the computer. I treated the class as a way to build up my portfolio for college.
Talk about your creative mulch—that is your daily inspirations, ‘fine’ art & not fine art:
Childhood memories inspire me. I sometimes get inspired and motivated by television commercials, the i-pod ones are good. I like to watch new music videos on MTV and Youtube and see how they mix up different fashions and styles- like 1980’s break dance clothes, 1970 afro’s, and Anime. I still like to watch cartoons. Scooby-Doo has some pretty great background landscapes and interiors.
Is there any other art or artist that you feel your work is in direct dialogue with?
It’s not necessarily in direct dialogue. I’m looking at artists constantly. I like Ellen Altfest – she has a wonderful sensitivity in her paintings. Every inch of her surface is effortlessly important. I look at Mark Bradford. I saw some of his work at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Carnegie International. His approach, to me, seems unique and effective. I saw some Aurel Schmidt drawings at the Dietch Projects. They are crazy good. Others I like are Ati Maier, Sarah Sze, Dana Schutz, and Brian Alfred.
Is most of your work small-scale? I’m always interested in how an artist decides that ‘this image needs to be this big’. Tell me a little about why you work the size you do.
My sizes are all over the place. I think it has to do with my mood and what I sort of drift towards for the day. Sometimes I feel like being hunched over a table doing a meticulous drawing or a collage, and other days I feel like flinging paint a board or a canvas. Currently I’m working on a few painting in a square format. I’m interested in linking a body of work together by this square shape and not relying so much on the imagery of the painting to create cohesiveness. We’ll see what happens.
What is the role of drawing in your work?
Well, if you mean drawing as the physical act of putting pencil to paper and drawing. It’s kind of a way for me to meditate and let things happen. I’ve been working on some pencil drawings of portraits while I watch television, mostly prison reality shows, whenever I need to refer to a facial feature I check out what’s on the tube. I think drawings will be titled “Prison Muses”.
Then there is drawing in my painting. Sometimes I start my painting pretty aggressively. I work from random marks and spatters down to carving out an eye or a tooth with a sable brush. The slow and methodical act of creating a fine line that becomes an eyelash or a gleam of spit on a lip is like drawing to me.
Is your work generous?
Is your work mysterious?
Do you think of your work as comic always, or ever as tragic?
It’s a balancing act of incorporating both humor and darkness into my work. I want the viewer to take the googly-eyed monster seriously. I want there to be mixed emotions about how the subject can be laughable while simultaneously evoking sympathy for its situation.
How important is authenticity?
It’s not. Authenticity is hard now-a-days. It’s hard not to steal from all the visual information that we see on the internet, t.v. and magazines. I was watching a Friday the 13th movie a couple of weeks ago and I looked at my friends and said that’s a Peter Doig painting. I googled Friday the 13th and Peter Doig, and sure enough that’s the image and the title of the painting.
How important is authority?
In my work it’s needed. At the same time I need to be irritated and confused while I work. There is a certain uneasiness that I need to feel to make my art. I guess my authority happens if I can pull an idea off. If I can step back from a painting and say that’s what I wanted. My ego is kept in check because this may happen every 3-5 paintings.
How much of your painting is improvising?
All of it. I may have an idea or a feeling and I don’t know what exactly it’ll look like in a visual form. In the paintings I’m working for something. I put the paint down and I look. Utilizing both abstract and representational imagery is part of what engages me. Things seem to be coming together and falling apart. This is the process that I use to make the work. In turn, this is my subject matter.
What is the hard part of painting for you?
Starting and stopping
What is the fun part?
When I feel like I’m in total control. When everything seems to be going well and I’m in the zone. Then (this isn’t fun usually) I realize that my eyes are blurred and I have to wipe the canvas down. Up until that point it’s great.
What are you looking at? What are you reading? What are you listening to?
I’ve been looking at the eyes in Piero Della Francesca paintings
I’m listening to Fleet Fox, Bon Iver, Neil Young, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Talking Heads, Joanna Newsom, AC/DC, Brainbow, David Bowie, Explosions In The Sky…..
I’m finishing up reading OIL!, I thought it fitting for my current location. Next in line is In Cold Blood.
I’m looking at lots. Most of the art is on the internet. It’s weird to see work in real life because I’m so use to seeing everything pixilated.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on one of the square paintings. It’s of a small and crowded boat at sea. It’s kind of a hopeless scene.