I create portraits and self-portraits that examine the conflicts of the western human condition, notably the controlled vs. the uncontrolled, the primitive vs. the civilized, and reason vs. emotionality. I begin my process by drawing on observations and interactions with individuals who, through their actions or beliefs, knowingly or unknowingly confront social ideals such as refinement, reason, and control. I draw on the exceedingly dramatic areas of these individual’s existence as an entrance way in order to more thoroughly explore the human condition through the conflicts and consequences that arise for those considered to have rejected social norms.
The starting point for each drawing is a white piece of paper. This perfect white surface in its most pristine state is my characters’ environment and prison. Its purity, stripped of imperfections, acts as a symbol for the standards of refinement in our civilization. I attack this paper, and in so doing I destroy its purity, adding instead a more emotive sense of humanness. Thus my figures are assaults on the environment of the paper even as they are trapped within it.
In this attack my weapon is drawing, specifically in charcoal whose archaic and dirty demeanor is the antithesis of the sterility of the surface. Charcoal, this dirty carbon used by primitive man, renaissance masters and contemporary artists alike, is used to construct marks, values and shapes that acknowledge these varied art sensibilities. My fingers push into heavy-handed swashes of black, putting the human hand and its fallibility directly into the work, while my erasers excavate clean, sinuous and appealing forms and contours to counter balance the chaos.
Through scale, stark visual contrasts, and contorted forms I confront the audience with the conundrum of these conflicted figures by infiltrating the space with these drawings. I do not ask for the viewer’s attention, but forcefully demand it in order to bring these conflicts out of the confined realm of the outsider and relocate them into the proximity of viewer’s daily lives. My viewers should not impassively dissect these individuals, but instead they should explore them, and find empathy for them, an empathy that would be extended to any other animal that is caught in a trap.