I typically use oil paints, but also use archival papers, inks, micron pens, pencils, watercolor. I use anything that will help me get my point across.
Your paintings are made up of images and words, and you’ve said the words help to strengthen the art. What did you mean by that?
A lot of the time, art is made with no explanation. I’m not saying this is a bad. All art is completely subjective which is part of the beauty of art. However, with my own work, I’ve found that it resonates better when accompanied by writing. If my audience can fully UNDERSTAND what is happening with a particular painting, I’ve found the overall impact of the work is stronger.
The artworks themselves still hold mystery, but I also like to give my viewers a choice. If they would rather make up their own story of what an image means, that is up to them, but if they’d like to know the truth, the writings are there.
What was your first source of artistic inspiration? Where does your inspiration come from now?
My first sources of artistic inspiration came from my surroundings. I grew up in a very rural environment, in a house built by my dad on a dirt road surrounded by fields and thousands of trees. My stimulation came from nature, and I remember drawing pictures of pine trees, cats and images I found in books.
Now, my inspiration comes from the human experience and what it means to live. I paint people a lot, because people are endlessly fascinating – the depths of the human mind is brilliant.
Can you tell our readers about one of your early experiences in creating or sharing art?
I remember once, in 8th grade, our teacher instructed us to bring in a few pieces that would be reviewed for the community-wide art show. I went home and got to work in the little studio my sister and I had in our parent’s basement.
She and I painted the exact same picture, of a grouping of trees. I always used to compare myself to her, and remember thinking how much better her piece was. I was very upset about this, and went outside to walk amongst the trees crying. (Really). I didn’t have much else to bring into the art class except for this once piece, so I begrudgingly brought it in. My teacher accepted it and it was hung in the community show.
The day of the show, I went with hardly a second thought. As soon as I arrived, a photographer came up to me and said, “Do you mind if I photograph you next to your piece?” I said, “Ok? … sure…” Well, when I walked up to my piece, there to the right of it was a BEST IN SHOW ribbon. You can imagine how astounded I was.
This story for me, was, and still remains the best reminder to NEVER compare your work to anyone else. Your unique vision is what makes you who you are. I changed my sore attitude after that, because I gained belief in myself
What are you hoping to accomplish with your art?
I think art has a powerful ability to connect people, so that others can share this profound experience of what it means to live on this earth, to be human. We all have a desire to feel connected to others, and not to feel lonely or isolated.
What advice would you give to a young artist—or young people in general?
Remember, YOU have something NOBODY else has. You want to know what it is? YOUR unique vision. There is nobody like you. Other people may share the same experiences, but there is absolutely nobody like you. That is why you can make beautiful work. Also, there will always be those people that may tell you that you can’t do something. Never mind them, and listen to your inner voice.