I Most importantly, there should exist a beautiful work of art; but upon closer inspection, my imagery often reveals a surprising message in the guise of something far more tame. I strive to make exquisite paintings, but also use the canvas as place to share and document what I am thinking. It can be a daunting challenge to use a visual language to express my very wordy thoughts. Thus details are everything. Any small object in a piece can carry significant meaning.
My paintings are frequently inspired by something unconventional and can be highly narrative or even fable like. I admire unusual people who had the courage to be themselves and follow their own star. The characters I use can be historical, fictional, celebrity or personal acquaintances; but they often possess a beauty unappreciated by mainstream culture or values. The story I might be telling is a departure point from which I craft an image. The painting should intrigue and delight the viewer regardless of whether the events or characters are recognized or not. The essence of the meaning should be decipherable even if the particulars are unknown. Once I select my subjects and compositions, what consumes nearly all of my time on a work, is the monumental effort to make the artwork look right, to be well painted.
I obsess over the quality of the painted image. The surface of the work is rich because of the many layers of paint applied over months or even years to achieve the fullness and complexity of color and diversity of value that makes the paintings glow. I paint, repaint and repaint until I am satisfied with every element. I look right through the occasional car crashes, corpses, freaks, or unattractive people on my canvases and just see gorgeous painting, color, brush work and layering.
I consider myself a colorist and remain an inventive painter. Just because I have painted something before, such as sky, water or flesh, I do not know how I will paint those same subjects the next time. I have no formulas or routines. I have to discover how to paint a subject in each and every new painting. There is very little repetition. I have to reinvent the wheel every time. Because of this I am not a particularly prolific painter. Almost all of my work takes at least a year to complete, yet I do work on multiple pieces at a time. I also do not work in series, I have to find a new subject and story for each work. This keeps me very interested in my own work, slows down my output, but ensures the uniqueness and freshness of each painting. I am not a production painter, there are no shortcuts and I value each individual painting.