q)Please tell us your
name and where you practice.
a)I have always had a
strong desire to express myself visually and in a way that reflects my point of
view of the world I live in. So, I’ve never wanted to make work that’s simply
nice or pretty to look at, there just needed to be a reason for it, the art, to
exist. I think I always have a need to ask something of the viewer beyond
simply passive observation. For me, there needs to be a message, an edge, a
prickly point that asks “why”. Yet,
early on in my development I would get stuck because I just didn’t know what I
wanted to say with my work. It’s taken my years and many iterations of my work and
now I have come full circle to where I started which is essentially the human
condition. But now, my work is from the
perspective of a middle age white guy instead of a 20 something man/kid when I
started, without much life experience.
a)I have a small
studio in the basement of the house I live in. The size of my work space forces
me to make work that is on the smaller side. I work in oilyet often think about
working with ink and water based media but because I have a cramped workspace
it’s difficult for me to change back and forth. Still, I’m working on making
this happen soon!
q) What´s your
a)I was born into a
family of artists, artisans, and craftspeople. Art and art related work is
really all I’ve ever done. I’ve tried other things but through the years art
was all I’ve ever been interested in or have stuck with. As a result, I got my
undergrad and grad degrees in art and then had chances to do other things in my
life such as teaching and graphic design but I just never had much interest in
them or been very confident or good at them. So, I have been very compelled to
follow this path, art, sometimes willing sometimes because it makes sense to me
and gives me meaning and purpose to my life.
q) What role does the
artist have in society?
a)This is a tricky
question for me and one I have asked myself too. The politically correct answer
is that society needs artists and their work in some fundamental, organic, or
emotional way to survive and grow by being a voice that reflects back on
society who “it” really is or some such idea. But this seems so cliché to me
and is not why I make art. I make the art I do because Iam compelled to. I
think if I were to think of my role this way, holding the proverbial mirror up
to society, I would likely stop making art, I mean it’s such a damn stifling
thought. To me, this question is better answered by critics or philosophers and
not by those who make the art.
I, of course, do believe that art in the mean
surely does reflect the predilections of the society it was created in. But I
also know from experience that once you step outside art circles you realize
that most people know little and or care even less about art. So, over the
years, I have come to realize that many don’t intentionally look at art let
alone considered what it might mean to them and their worldview. No one needs
art to survive, to eat, or to have shelter. But then I also feel that this
“non-purpose” is exactly what gives art and artists their edge, their role by
being removed from the forces that society places on itself they, artists, are
free to make what is necessary and important to them.
q) What was a seminal
experience for you ?
college a group of my friends, my girlfriend at the time and me went to Greece
for a month. It was such an open time for me as it is for all or many just
minted 20 something grads, ready and hungry for anything intellectually, at
least that was me, my friends. That experience opened me up to the possibility
that well, anything is possible and was instrumental in my seriously perusing
my art as a career as a life practice.
q) Has your practice
changed over time ?
a)Yes, many times. I
began working figuratively then later after a move to rural New York I got into
painting outside, plein air, landscape work. Then during the writer months, I
worked abstractly which were loosely based on the landscape work. At this time,
I was very heavy into the work of Fairfield Porter and the early abstraction of
Richard Diebenkorn primarily. But over the years, I have come back to
figurative-narrative work by way of merging abstraction and representative work
while creating a kind of narrative that reflects my life experience in varying
q) What art do you
most identify with ?
a)Wow, there is so much but as for painting, I
find I’m initially drawn to two things, in no particular order. The first is
color and line and then combined with the hand of the artist in their work. By
the last part I mean I really respond to work that is not overly defined but
appears to be done with the idea in mind first and not the result or how it
will look to the viewer. I love spontaneity and even a slap-dash quality if
it’s done without pretense.
I love the drawings
kids make because of the same reasons they are all about the idea or what they
feel and NOT how it will look to the viewer. This is the corruption we suffer,
as we get older. We learn to not trust that our ideas are power and that your
hand is just you like our signature or handwriting, your face or your body. I
think an artist “voice” if it’s truly honest is a sweet marriage of their hand
and their idea. The best artists among us know this, trust it and use them
affectively and effectively in their work. This is what I look for in art and
what I most identify with. Directly aligned with this I want there to be
substance, meaning or an edge that pulls me in then kicks me out then pulls me
back. I like work that kills you slowly or without you realizing it then later
you just can’t stop thinking about it. I like work with meat and meaning!
q) What´s your
strongest memory of your childhood ?
a)There are too many
to list and most are not too interesting to talk about.
q) What themes do you
a)If I had to name it
I suppose it would be social commentary and narrative themes.
q) Describe a real
life experience that inspired you.
a)This happens a lot
or often. But one event that is a recurrence around here where I live is the
habitual use of gas leaf blowers. For me, these machines are very irritating
and disturbing actually. They are loud and smell because they are usually
gas-oil powered. I made a painting about it with a guy that is desperately
trying to protect his ears from these gas monsters. I also see them as a lazy
way to clean a yard. You would think with such a ubiquitous use of these
machines that brooms and rakes no longer exist or are beginning made!
q) What´s your most
embarrassing moment ?
a) I’m not sure I
don’t really get embarrassed I think I just don’t really care what people think
q) What jobs have you
done other than being an artist ?
a)Too many to list and
were not very interesting except when I was a substitute teacher for several
years. I always liked working with young kids and I would always find a way to
get them to draw pictures or make art somehow!
q) What responses have
you had to your work ?
a)I think what people
most comment on are the contexts that the protagonist(s) in my paintings find
themselves in. There is always some weird, odd or off centered situations
they’re in that can be both funny and disturbing. But most say the work has a
dark humor to it. Which I think most viewers enjoy. Still, I would welcome a really
in depth review of my work but I’m still waiting on this!
q) What do you dislike
about the art world ?
capricious, and erratic tendencies as to the ways things function. Next for me
there are those who profit on the insecurity and disappointment of artists by
taking their money, usually large amounts, in trade for the tacit promise that
they will reveal to the artist “the way” to their success whether that be
financial or otherwise. These people to me, though not all but many, are akin
to snake oil salesmen of the past who made undeliverable promises to the
willing and desperate.
The beauty of being an
artist is that success can be anything that they deem it to be. That the
creative process is infinite and likewise so are the options one can find
success from unlike, for example, a doctor or lawyer. So, this is the rub, and
where a lot of we artists get lost, myself included, and also where those who
profess the knowledge of how to make an artist successful step in. Because
artists are generally sensitive people they are susceptible to being
manipulated by these types. I dislike these people who I feel are simply
profiteers generally not interested in much beyond making money for themselves.
I dislike this aspect of the art world probably the most.
q) What research do
you do ?
a)I pay attention and
observe these are probably my best research. Iunfortunately don’t read as much
as I used to but I listen to a lot of podcasts as well as varying points of
view from news sources. I seem to get a lot from these sources. Comedy and
movies are a great distraction and recourse for me too!
q) What is your dream
a)I think to have a
show or multiple shows in major museums and galleries in notable cities such
Milan, Rome, New York, Paris and others but, I think this is not unique; it’s
what most artists would like to have happened.
q) What´s the best
piece of advice you have been given ?
a)I’ve not gotten much useful advice at least
as it relates to art. But I think one thing that is really important and
necessary is to be positive, patient and persistent which, as it turns out, are
the three things that are a challenge for me!
q) What couldn’t you
a)My health and the freedom to create the life
I want to have.
obnoxious people. And now with the US election of 2016 I simply cannot
understand how we have so many blind followers who are soeasily conned in this
country by a load mouth,bigoted,misogynist. That really makes me angry and also
q) What is your worst
things never happen as fast as I would like!
a)Dogs for sure, cats
are a foreign and irritating species to me!
q) Making art is a lot
like being on lsd. Know what I mean ?
a)No, I don’t know
what you mean? If you mean is making art like an acid trip well, no it’s not.
Art is work there is pleasure and pain, success and failure in the process.
q) What does “ copy”
mean to you ?
a)I’m not sure I
understand the question but all good artists copy this how they build on what
has come before.
q) What´s your
favorite cuss word ?
a)Shit only one? okay,