My work often begins with a conversation or recounting a powerful narrative that brings members of my personal community into decisions about the process and final product. In my figurative work, I never use professional models. Instead, I intentionally engage close friends, family members, and others in my immediate circle of relationships. It is crucial that I know their stories, and that in dialogue we cultivate essential connections between themselves and the myths, archetypes, religious tales, and contemporary stories which frame the human condition. The essential elements of those conversations then take shape in an intentional event where our dialog becomes embodied in a modeling or framing session, which becomes the raw visual reference for the final art object. In this way the art piece might become a portrait as well as a meditation on a narrative.
My relationship to media is similar to my relationship the figure in that I learn from my materials. I perceive each material–be it three dimensional or two dimensional–as a ‘ready-made’ that is already invested with its own character, structural strengths, beauties, and weaknesses. It also comes with its own history in culture, its own imbedded meaning, and its own traditional and experimental history of techniques for working with it. As much as possible, I love to research a material, gain respect for what it is, and then learn to incorporate its pre-existent aesthetics and meanings into the final work.
I been deeply inspired by the Counter Reformation Neapolitan School, not only for its technical virtuosity but also for its tongue-in-cheek humor and its fleshy, gritty, self-effacing sense of the spiritual that somehow remains sincere. But then the figurative elements of my works draw from the anatomical waxes of La Specola, Florence Italy. These wax pieces blur the line between spiritual aesthetics and scientific inquiry, made from an ephemeral material that has nonetheless lasted hundreds of years with minimal deterioration. I find the surreal results compelling. I am also inspired by Asian artforms, specifically the Sumi-e and contemporary Japanese wood sculpture, with its preeminence of the artist’s mark, appreciation of space, honor of source substances, and Haiku moments pregnant with possibilities of meaning.