For the past fifteen years, I have worked on my Capturing Culture series, a body of works on paper, drawn from the audience of live music performances. Sketched in Caran dAche crayon on suede board or with a sharp implement into scratch-board. The pieces portray the performers and often their instruments and parts of the venue. Though ultimately a visual record, the work emerges from a ritualistic creative process which serves to address my feelings about time, creative skill, and visual imagery.
The fleeting nature of these performances is central to the work. It is often hard not to see the passing of time as an enemy, but in the case of my work the opposite is true. The impending end of a song, set, or evening offers a sense of freedom, allowing me to work quickly. This rapid pace also dictates my choice of materials. Caran dAche crayons or scratch-boards function best when used quickly and confidently. A darkened venue limits my color palette on the suede board to just what I can see. Additionally, a confined seating space constrains the size of my boards and therefore the number of details I can include.
Performances and process are not the only things that are fleeting. In the last fifteen years many of the performers I have drawn have passed away. For many, my series of drawings document the historical relevance of their illustrious careers. I feel a deep sense of appreciation and communion with the performers as they connect with each other, their craft, and the audience. It is essential to me to have the performer sign my work as an acknowledgment of my creative process. I give them one of my drawings so that my artistic spirit goes with them. Often I show my work to members of the audience and it feels as though I am welcoming them into this same ritualistic and celebratory moment.
I am not sure of the full extent of what I have accomplished until I get home and see my work under bright lights. Once I select the work that I wish to be fully realized, I rework and complete the image. At this point I am content with this original work. I am also excited to see the potential using technology. My work is then scanned enabling computer applications to artistically complete the piece and produce a different visual realization. A Giclee print I proof is pulled to the size desired and the final piece comes to life.