I approach my paintings as pictography, using pictured objects and symbols to convey ideas and information into a visual language. These images are not layered, but puzzled together in sequence, creating a narrative that’s both specific and open to interpretation.
Working on paper using only acrylic paint, I mimic painting and printing methods to appropriate the style in which I want that object to look. The end result is a patchwork of different processes, creating a coherent whole. The manner in which my images are applied is of great interest to me; the way in which different textures, surfaces and styles respond to each other and how the application of the paint can enhance the psychological push of the narrative. The nature of the object in many cases determines how it’s painted; for example, I’ll use silksreening for manufactured objects to feel mass-produced, cold and impersonal. Cartoon images hold more psychological impact and remain spatially flat and clean like an animation cel, while organic and handmade objects become personal by the labor and evidence of the brush.
My painting’s narratives are never shown in the “act” but rather by what preludes or follows that act. This way one has to imagine what you are looking at, piece it together and make your own conclusion. If I included the source of the narrative, there would be no story to tell – it’s now about what is absent that lets the work continue and keep its mystery.
June 12, 2014
The Hotel Drawings
In 2012 I began working on a series of drawings made on hotel stationary, which I had collected throughout my travels. Drawings made on hotel paper have had a rich history in the art world, most notably the work made by Martin Kippenberger (1953- 1997), but what fascinated me was the paper itself. The logos on hotel stationary instantly create a back story, a universal narrative we all know. It fills in imagery that I don’t need to put on paper because it’s already accepted in our minds. The experience within a hotel – its isolation, smells, sounds and generic qualities are all represented the moment you recognize they’re drawn on hotel stationary.
The drawings are comprised of loose marks made with china marker, which loosely resemble room interiors. Composed over that are figures made of dry rub transfers. The images were recreated in my studio from the original Letraset clipart transfers that were popular in advertising from the 50’s through the 80’s, until the advent of computers. For me the transfers convey a dark humored urgency, people with mysterious motive blending into our everyday lives in order to do what they do.
As in my painting’s, the drawing’s narrative is never shown in the “act” but rather by what preludes or follows it. This way one has to imagine what you are looking at, piece it together and make your own conclusion. If I included the source of the narrative there would be no story to tell, it’s what you don’t know that lets the work continue and keep its mystery.
January 2, 2014
While looking online, I had come across an unopened PrestoMagix dry transfer set for sale – the same one I had done as a child and oddly still have to this day. So I bought it and any other PrestoMagix I could find and remember doing. PrestoMagix drawings include one printed full color paper background and one dry rub transfer sheet of color objects and figures usually based on animals, history and sci-fi subject matter. You would take the images on the transfer sheet and place them where you want on the background and transfer them using a pencil, and thus creating your own narrative. My intent was to relive my experience making these drawings while simultaneously creating new ones. Months went by and I realized the experience was in collecting these sets, making sure I could get the ones I needed, but once I had them in my possession I would just store them. I was buying my childhood and there was no new experience to relive. You can only collect the memory not recreate it. Thinking about the anticipation I had as a child, opening a new set will always trump reenacting the process itself. Instead, I began approaching the PrestoMagix drawings as a collector – the idea wasn’t in the making of the drawing but in the idea of obtaining it.
I start each drawing by painting large cargo nets, or trawler nets, the kind used in commercial fishing, encompassing the majority of the composition. The nets are full and have mass and are being pulled from outside the picture frame. Inside the nets are the contents of the entire transfer sheet for that particular set. Collected in the net the figures and objects are weighted by gravity and fit together like a puzzle never intersecting one or the other. The drawings look disrupted, as if the activity of telling a story with the figures and objects are being taken away in a net before it ever begins, and the memory of that anticipation is captured before it ever takes place. I don’t want to recreate the memory but preserve the original one.
August 5, 2013