My work is flat. This is because I think that two-dimensionality is the ultimate intellectualization of thought. 2D has elements of both the author’s and the viewer’s personal experience, motifs, symbols, archetypes and vocabulary.
My vocabulary is commentary, observation, auto-biography, humor, oxymoron - the plight of us mere mortals. I often look at the contradictions in life. I draw on things I see in my quotidian existence, not just people and places but also objects and images, spoken and written words, immediate surroundings, and places far away brought near by media. I look at certain objects as having symbolic importance: masks, eyes, hands, and other people’s symbols. I make associations between images. I find images have new meanings as they are reproduced and I look for those new interpretations. I play on the aspects of imagery that have different interpretations when observed by different viewers. While we think of our world as terribly advanced, we are really fooling ourselves. The basis of most of our beliefs is really the rehashing of ancient ideas in a faster, more complex way. Human nature is essentially unchanged.
I have used a lot of African images over the past few years. Well, because I had been living in Africa. But also because I found that many of the images were in line with my thoughts on the basic nature of our collective psyche. Many of the African images are drawn from objects that I saw in my daily life in Africa. I didn’t see them in traditional settings but in shops and on walls, in houses and in public places. Their interest to me is how they are perceived now. But their connection to religion and deity is unmistakable. I am concerned with their psychological archeology. I have also been working on chomonomials and simplified letters because they are beautiful symbols.
I also use abstract shapes and images as symbols. They create confusion between those that are understandable only to someone who knows the vocabulary, those that everyone sees completely differently, and those that have an unconscious meaning that is the same to everyone. I am interested in whether or not there is an unconscious or a physiological reason for how they are understood.
My images are arranged in a classical manner to create movement through the composition, At times, the composition may imitate ancient registers like those used in Babylonia or Egypt, or on steles that appear throughout the ancient world including Cambodia. They may be organized by light and dark, as chiaroscuro. They may be centered. Sometimes I list the visual elements, applying them as I find them, so that they form a chronological image. I am particularly drawn to the way that ancient art combined image, words, religion, pictograph and pictogram in the same piece.
I believe that sometimes a piece of art looks cool. This is not an appreciation of the subject of a painting, which may make it interesting. There seems to be an inexplicable element. We like it because it’s “cool” without being able to explain why.
How I work. I take the mass of visual information that is circulating through my head on any given day and begin to place it into a flat environment. It is not arbitrary. It is related through my conscious and unconscious thinking. I reduce everything as flat as I possibly can. There is a visual organization based on the nature of the objects and the way objects will be viewed and perceived. Transparency can show a history of images as they accumulate or allow objects to occupy the same space.
I often start with drawing: academic, classical drawing. The drawings can be done anywhere and be about anything. Sometimes I draw objects that I like or that are hanging around. Sometimes I paint photographs that I see in a newspaper or online. Often, I paint objects that I’ve photographed. My intention is never to copy the photograph but to make an interpretation of it, a portrait of it. Sometimes I just change the images. I may photograph them, manipulate them with photoshop and re-paint them. I may do it more than once; I may change the order of how it is done, but I always do it to create a specific effect rather than to affect a style. I often start with an image and then make visual commentaries on it. I relate objects to the commentaries and commentaries to the commentaries. The final tableau is a complete statement.
Having lived in many places and in many cultures I find myself part of the growing Internationalism of the art world.
This explanation of my work is a priori, after the fact. I work without trying to consciously follow a pattern or style.