For me, painting is a magical process. The connection to the subconscious with the everyday world comes together in ways that surprise me every time I sit down to paint. It’s difficult to name what I do, to explain why I ended up where I did on canvas. My paintings are who I am. They are what I think about, but cannot easily express. They are an account of a moments in time that live forever when taken out of the running film of life. Life doesn’t stop, but moments in time shape us. Every moment.
I am fascinated by the way film condenses time. Film is a collection of moments; stories mirrored by the emotional experiences of the characters. I love the idea of condensing a story into one single image, or portrait. My subjects do not know that they are art. They may not know they are being looked at. Sometimes my paintings look directly at you, like a person in the middle of a sentence, waiting for your response.
It’s a demanding thing for a painting to hold you in it’s own time. I’ve watched people get uncomfortable looking at my work. I’ve seen people recoil, and refuse to come closer. This interests me a great deal. It is, after all, just a painting. But a painting that induces such a response is, in my mind, a painting that’s done its job. It has had an impact. The people that come closer, who are magnetically drawn in, are fascinating to watch. There’s an exquisite kind of silent bubble that happens when a person meets a painting that speaks to them. I see their faces open, and relax into a state of curiosity. They have become receptive, open to something unfamiliar. It’s a gift to see it. This vulnerability is at the very heart of what I paint. It is the driving force of why I do what I do.
I think that I’ve always had a driving force when it comes to creating. As a kid it wasn’t really ever about something to do. It was about having an idea, and working on pulling together whatever resources I had to realize it. My brain would show me in pictures what I needed, and I set to it. I would create something over and over again until it felt right. One Halloween while making little ghosts out of Kleenex, I suddenly had to know what my bedroom ceiling would look like if it were filled with hanging Kleenex ghosts. That was going to require an immense number of ghosts. So that’s what I did. I made so many ghosts I couldn’t see straight. I pinned them ALL to my ceiling, sat back to observe the results, and was very satisfied. I still remember the feeling it gave me. The project had worked, and the world felt different, refreshed.
I had no idea that I had an artist’s temperament, that the story of little ghosts would become the way I live my life. I was told it wasn’t practical. No one was allowed to survive (certainly not thrive) by being an artist. It was out of the question. I was told I had to have something more ‘real’, something I didn’t enjoy to support something I did. I tried it. I wasted time doing it. I was miserable. Beyond miserable. I became suicidal. Then one day, in some sort of moment of grace, I realized I had to create. It was the sort of knowing that is rare, undeniable, and absolutely impossible to ignore. I was 30 years old. I told my family and loved ones that I was going to be an artist full time. Most said that it was about time. My mother didn’t say a word. She was silent for a minute. Then she said ‘ok’. That was it. From that moment forward, she never breathed another word of negativity. And so it began.