Who are you and what do you do?
I am a 38-year-old, American male of European descent, raised in an upper middle class suburb with dreams of being a hunter-gatherer (I have romantic, slightly unrealistic view of nature). I spend most of my time painting and sometimes writing and in my opinion far too much time dealing with societal expectations. My artistic style comes out of the pastoral tradition of history painting. I have an equal love for figures and landscapes, especially when there are elements that seem to have a life of their own: clouds, fire, smoke, and water.
What is your favorite medium?
I use a small crock-pot to thicken walnut oil that I mix into manufactured oil paint. Oils are my favorite medium because there is such a long varied history of techniques. You could start a painting differently every time if you wanted, and I often aim to do that. There is a kind of comfort when working in such a long lasting tradition. I feel like I’m in a secret siblinghood when I go to the museum and I look at the work of other painters.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from the magic of paint itself; how a gooey-amorphous substance can be maneuvered with the help of rags and hairs affixed to the end of sticks until it becomes an illusionistic image. Its really absurd when you think about it.
What is your creative process?
Ideally, I work directly from the subject from life, with usually little preliminary drawing on the canvas. I initially record color that I see, and move it around until I figure out how the various shapes work together as a drawing. Then I spend far too long adjusting this giant mess, but I feel like the multiple layers and efforts accumulate into something that couldn’t be achieved by any other means.
Is there a specific theme/message/emotion you aim to evoke?
Yes, and it varies with each painting.
What motivates you to continue to create?
After 17 years out of school as a full-time painter, it’s clear that I prefer to paint everyday. This is further cemented by the fact that society would probably not allow me to do anything else. However, I have allowed writing and curating gigs to sneak into my life, and these ponderings have been assets to my creative process.
When you encounter creative blocks, what do you do to overcome them?
This whole idea of waiting for inspiration or of “creative blocks” is kind of bogus. Just shut up and work. Sure, some days you’ll be more excited than other days, but every day there’s work to do so you better just show up and do it.
What are your thoughts on the future of art?
I don’t know where it’s headed but I would hope that given this current new Renaissance of figurative painting, that the artists become more literate so that these works about humanity actually have something to teach us.
What is something you have had to learn on your own that you would like to pass on to the next Creative?
If you’re planning to do this for your life profession, take the time to understand your materials, especially any potential health hazards. Of 6 teachers I’ve had over my life, 5 have suffered brain disease. The only one who painted outdoors.