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ARTIST STATEMENT

My work explores various ideas, including history, science, the cosmos, anatomy, and physical space. Often included are less tangible psychological issues, including mental health, fear, the uncanny, and the subconscious. I rely on subconscious and aesthetically driven combinations of these topics and areas of interest to make a compelling image through world-building and varied paint applications, sometimes incorporating sawdust and other materials to alter the paint's texture and density. People often ask me to provide meaning for my paintings. While sometimes, there is a vague narrative and specific use of symbolism, often there is not. My work typically comprises multiple motifs and themes resulting from segmented apophenic connections. The majority of my creative decisions are purely visual and allow the viewer to exist in the world before them and create their own meaning. 

I mentioned apophenia, which is the phenomenon of connecting and relating unrelated things or ideas. It's the common source of conspiracy theories, ghost stories, and, one could argue, religion. It's not always bad unless given too much credibility or influence, and I believe it's an excellent source of creative flow. A subset of this phenomenon is seeing faces in random patterns, known as pareidolia. Once believed to be a symptom of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, it is now understood to be a generally harmless malfunction in the areas of the brain associated with pattern recognition and facial mapping. I love the idea of these phenomena as a byproduct of the human impulse to assign meaning to understand a typically chaotic universe. My work hinges on the duality between a desire to understand the world around us and the personally comforting realization that, while meaning exists, it is not ubiquitous. This belief allows full enjoyment of the subconscious and the natural and historical world. It's the joy of not knowing but wanting to. Curiosity in its purest form. It's science without the need for absolute understanding but undertaken for the pleasure of asking questions that may or may not lead somewhere else.  

 

The work of Ralph Steadman heavily influences my practice. Steadman uses splatters of ink and paint to create abstract shapes, which he then embellishes with lines to create cartoons and more representational images. This encompasses a neurological phenomenon called pareidolia, in which the brain interprets random patterns to see faces and other anthropomorphic shapes. I've known this phenomenon since childhood but only recently found its name. This is an excellent way to disrupt an artist's block and a generally helpful starting point for drawing and painting.  

 

My childhood home was constructed primarily of wood, and I took great interest in the different patterns created on the walls and floor by the grain of the wood. There was a narwhal in the bathroom and a witch (I found this particular image quite frightening, so I directed my attention to the pirate ship adjacent to the witch while using the toilet.) Raindrops and condensation on the car window also created exciting characters and landscapes, which I could embellish by fogging the window from the inside and drawing with my finger. My parents' constant support of my interest in making art and their subsequent furnishing of materials kept me from drawing directly on walls.  

 

My paintings are the visual embodiment of my day-to-day thought process. Imagine putting the whole of Wikipedia into a blender, and you're halfway there. Historical facts and legends, bits of science, and what was that other movie that guy was in? Tons of information are all given the same level of importance and consideration, no matter how insignificant or monumental. Then imagine tipping that blender on its side and watching all those little factoids blend into the visual average of their parts. Now warp that image a bit, giving part of it a comical twist while another area remains unsettling or uncanny. You aren't quite sure where to stand in this space, but you aren't entirely afraid. Like all those little hotlinks back on Wikipedia, you keep flitting from one detail to another.

mind map
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