What’s your artistic background?
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
I have a pretty nebulous definition of art and think artists in general are far too mythologized. Art is often seen as something almost unattainable, even by those that might participate in the creation of some kind on a daily basis. A lot of people tend to have an instinct that says that art is something invariably beautiful, which is obviously subjective and one of the reasons why it’s so easy to spark a debate about art. The core thread found in all artists is that of new ideas in action.
What role does the artist have in society?
At its best and most effective, the role of an artist is to explore, express and challenge established ideas and those that feel archaic, ill-defined, or unjust. In a lot of ways I think artists challenge all aspects of life as we know it and to be the champions of brand new ideas, or seeds of those ideas. Artists are idea hunters, trailblazing the discovery of new places within us.
What art do you most identify with?
I’ve always been attracted to experimental and offbeat art, whether it’s a painting or music, film, photography, poetry. I’m also very drawn to minimalism and the power of simplicity. If it is made in the earnest pursuit of truth, or genuine, thoughtful expression.
What themes do you pursue?
Positive and negative space, analog and digital systems, nostalgia and curiosity for the future. Movement, stillness, composition, chaos. I’m hard-wired with a reverence and respect for opposing, complimentary forces that define their counterparts and therefore, themselves. But, before all else, I pursue the process. Thoughtful testing, trials, errors, and experiments gone awry, all are foundational aspects of my pursuits and their outcomes.
What’s your favourite art work?
There’s a bright red Alexander Calder piece in my hometown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s an enormous metal sculpture in the heart of Downtown called ‘La Grande Vitesse’ which is a translation of our city’s name. It’s the official landmark and is included in the city logo and all that, so it’s one of those things that can become easily ignored or resented with its omnipresence. But it’s an incredible work, beautiful, graceful, powerful lines and color. I love it now more that I ever have. The last time I saw it, I cried like it was an old friend. Grand Rapids has amazing beer.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
The day that I realized how ridiculous and unlikely it is that life exists. I was 4 or 5 years old, alone in the basement and it hit me that there shouldn’t actually be anything — and yet, here we are. I still think about that day all the time. The sentiment is still very much what drives me.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I worked at both Virgin and Tower Records stores on Sunset Boulevard in the late 90’s and was a runner at the Record Plant, a famous Hollywood recording studio. I also just recently spent a few years working as a VFX Producer which as a friend put it, is ‘basically the opposite of being an artist.’
I’ve never felt any kind of a choice, to be honest. It’s just how I naturally operate in the world and where I feel oriented and productive. If I’m not productive in my art, I don’t feel like progress is being made anywhere, regardless of whatever else I might be doing.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
Curious, exploratory. starved for insight.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
The visceral reactions at art fairs are great; one girl asked if she could lay down and sleep. There are also some celebrities and artists who I admire that follow me and have bought works from me over the years. Carice Van Houten from Game of Thrones is a memorable one; she’s awesome.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Ramen at Diakokuya, Founder’s Frangelic Mountain Brown, Girl/Boy Song by Aphex Twin.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Yes, definitely. I generally prefer solitude; I’m easily distracted and often need time to get immersed into my work. But I do make sure to make an effort to be social with friends and meet new people that I find interesting. I tend to do some intensive traveling at least once a year. Road trips, camping, international travel, all that helps press the reset button.
What do you dislike about the art world?
Pretentious or disingenuous people, which are usually more involved in the showing of the art in exclusionary settings with exorbitant prices.
What do you dislike about your work?
I take too long on many of my pieces and I do get annoyed with my wide range of styles sometimes.
What do you like about your work?
My wide range of styles. For a while I thought it was mostly due to being a new painter, but it doesn’t yet seem to have calmed quite yet. I do quietly hope that all of my modes will merge and become a more streamlined language at some point, but I’m not going to force it. But also — THE PROCESS. All works and moments are served faithfully by the process. That I was I enjoy most about my work. The work !
Should art be funded?
By the government, and for schools? Absolutely. Something I think is lacking in the US, and most of the world.
What role does arts funding have?
Funding is a huge component in exposing our next generations of artists, as well as the artists currently working, in addition to empowering them all to learn and create. It takes not only time, education and intention to become empowered, but also the realization and actualization of these abilities to transcend language and ignite change. Progress through process. It’s surprisingly easy to start a debate about art, which reveals just how precious it is to us, yet we fall short in bolstering those whom might be our greatest assets.
What is your dream project?
Anything to inspire new ideas and understanding. I’d love to work with a network of brilliant artists and friends around the world, challenging stagnant ideas to affect positive change on the world’s stage.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
If given a choice, I’d probably rather not be compared to anyone specifically. That said, here are 3 of my favorite artists (whom I totally wouldn’t mind being compared to :
Richard D. James (Aphex Twin)
Favourite or most inspirational place?
I’ll give you four and it’s quite an abbreviated list ! Sedona, AZ. Anywhere in Colorado. New York City. Japan.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Always keep moving forward.” – My Pops, who has passed in 2012
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To utilize my curiosity to inspire insight and progress.
I just recently left my full-time job and I’m thrilled to be back in the studio, dedicating my time and thoughts to creative projects once again. I’m launching my YouTube channel and will be painting loads more works as I explore new ideas and mediums. I hope that you’ll follow me along on my adventure.