There was a time when I created a series of visually difficult paintings to authenticate the experience of living in this world today. They were the result of a firsthand experience of walking the streets of Oakland, New York, and other overpopulated metropolitan areas. This only proved as an ineffective strategy in conveying a message of urgency in saving the earth, for the messy distorted visuals shook up the viewer in a way that left a rancid aftertaste on their palettes. I came to the conclusion that instead, I’d much prefer to woo the viewer by fulfilling their aesthetic sensibilities (to the best of my hand’s ability) in order to sway the viewer into critical thinking. But the fear then, is to make a “pretty” painting that falls into a trap of some version of glorification of a disturbing x,y, or z current event. The fear is that there is some major miscommunication with the viewer, where these new works make light of the many ways that we have obliterated or badly damaged various ecosystems. This could naturally happen by the removed experience one has when viewing work in X gallery. He, She, or they walk in to X gallery, contemplate the work(s) that exist outside of their minds, creating a mental distance from whatever given catastrophic events are being addressed in the work. I can only hope that my own subconscious somehow tilts the paintbrush in such a way that mimics the imperfect experience of living in our waking reality, so that the viewer is somehow swayed into paying attention. The hope is that after he or she leaves X gallery, maybe there is some slight shift in habitual patterns of thought. If the work can ignite some sort of introspection in the viewer as both consumer and potential facilitator in reclaiming accountability amongst our species, then I will feel I have done at least some of what I was put on this earth to do.
As an artist with a particular affinity towards 19th century painters such as Gustave Courbet, Arnold Bocklin, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Albert Bierdstadt, to name a few, I often think about what 19th century painters would think of our modern times if they were transported to the present with their old school outlook. The result of this conceptual backdrop is unconventional; you will see evidence of Van Gogh or Claude Monet, but more often than not it is less categorical, as I attempted to feel the essence of their masterpieces while painting. Thus, what I hope is transmitted is an emotional response, rather than a copy, with the exception of my painting The Chapel, Revised, which is a very close attribution to painter Arnold Bocklin’s The Chapel (1898).