Artist Statement

 

I have long held the opinion that through art veiled truths hidden in the shadows of reality, beyond our perception, can be lassoed into existence if given the proper enticement. I want to believe that through creating room-size places or miniature spaces, or miniature places in big open spaces, or shadowy people staring into blackness, that my imagination, and hopefully that of the viewers', is able to connect with places that exist beyond the boundary of possibility, and that we're able to conjure new realities to explore.

 

My work transitions from sketches into environment/ drawing/ painting/ light-study photograph amalgamations . In sketch form, the slippery transition between negative and positive edges, in addition to the lead truths, is something I try to retain in the images and constructions.  

 

The images are fashioned from toothpicks, old clothes, blankets, cereal boxes, little sample paints from Home Depot and other stuff from around the house.  They are lit using a plethora of different lights then photographed. Some take a few hours to create and some take hundreds. Staging these sets for the camera is the only time I feel completely connected to my surroundings. I hear sound effects inside my head, I imagine living in the sets, more parts of my brain seem to function, life feels genuinely my own, I  get boosts of adrenaline when revelations pop out of the ether and help me finish a scene.

 

 

 

The stories below are text pulled from sketches, my films, professional collaborations or photographs:

1:

Process:

Let’s pretend we’re at an archeological dig on a foreign planet and we carefully unearth, or un-planet rather, a round box….  Imagination and hope conjure all sorts of wonderful possibilities for what could be inside the round box.  A new biological species, something that will make the discoverer rich, something that will change the model of the universe, an artifact from God, something that lets the discoverer adapt to experiencing the present in four-dimensional space and time, or a wormhole through space/time.  Whatever is inside WON'T be as earth shattering as building imaginative bridges to what’s inside.  —It’s probably just something that fell off your spacecraft, thus preventing you from getting home. I work on artwork so as to continue fostering this sense of imagination; it is my favorite human quality.

 



  • "Wishing Well" 
  • 2:

One can categorize most of life by all the things we:

have to do but do not mind doing and the things we do not want to do but have to.

Suppose  every summer you have to stain the deck. It might take three days, 8 hours per day, 24 hours total --  essentially, one entire day. Was it worth it? Well, yes, you have given more longevity to something you paid for. If you do not have a deck, use it analogously with something else you need to do.  April taxes, or cleaning a boat hull...

I do not know whether your memory functions like mine but, let us say you are staining the deck, it is boring but cathartic -- you listen to music. About an hour into staining, you are reminded of the fact that EVERY SUMMER you are doing this. EVERY SUMMER it takes three days. EVERY SUMMER the stain gets more expensive and does not last as long. You remember certain qualities from the summer before and the summer before that. You forget about other things and your life seems to revolve around this deck. It seems like you are always staining it. In other words, you get years mixed up. You reinvent the past and get confused in the present. A solipsistic existence, just you and deck staining. The memories of you and the deck form a kind of relationship monologue. A seemingly infinite, ying-yang camaraderie, just you and the deck.

                  Are you familiar with the movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? The premise behind it is the focused erasure of memories. There was recent scientific work published on this subject, which slightly pre-dates the movie. In the late 1970s trials were conducted on rats and humans using protein inhibitor drugs like anisomycin, which in fact not only prevents new memories from being formed but can also erase specific ones. The whole discussion is a bit creepy. It questions how we form and recall memories from our past. And, in the case of the deck, what we know we will repeat in the future and how we perceive those past and future  experiences in the present.

                  The future, you ask? What I am saying is, you can predict certain experiences of your future, staining the deck next summer for example, and it weighs into your present frustration at staining the deck this summer. Next year you know you will be re-staining and the year after that, more staining. All those pasts and futures begin colliding in your mind.

 

                  Anyway, there I am working the deck having difficulty reliving anything but staining the deck. I try to think about the last time I kissed my girlfriend. I relive job interviews while staining the deck, all the inner-speech we experience all the time, but time swells around this deck-staining-repetitive-act.  When you do this in the form of a career from age 18 every day, pretty soon, you will wake-up and you're 50…. That is how time shrinks. For me it does this except when I am creating photographs. Only when I am building a new set, or roaming around in some scary building for a shoot do I feel like I’m accomplishing something real.  

                  There are roughly 8,766 hours in a year. 613,000 hours in a 70-year lifetime. We sleep one third of those hours. When we quantify life like this, we see that we only have about 400,000 hours, before we die. That is if we’re lucky enough to live a long life. How much of that 400,000 do you get to use for yourself? 100,000? According to some research reported by NY Times columnist and author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours to master a complex area of study. —Oil painting, golf, the violin, weaving on a loom, computer programming.  To get really good, you have to spend 10,000 hours on it. That is a lot! It is a fortieth of your waking life, or one-tenth of your free time.

 

For me, this boils down to two things -- creating things I love and enjoying sex often.

 

3:

 

Gray Day

"If I wake up tomorrow and everyone is gone the first thing I will do is learn to ride a bicycle..."

My girlfriend was quietly singing to herself in the other room. She wouldn't answer me but I didn't really ask a question. She kept on... not answering me. Meanwhile I was thinking about fresh bagels with eggs on them.

A few years later our daughter was drawing a picture at the breakfast table. She wouldn't eat. I poured her cereal. She was drawing a picture of an elf. Or, her self as an elf. She was planning on going-out for Halloween dressed as this waif-elf. I was a female elf a few years ago for Halloween; I wondered if it was genetic.

Displaying a little femininity and dressing as a female elf may grant you access into the inner-recesses of some parties. —These were big parties in Brooklyn loft apartments. Hidden from view was the hostess, an oil-sheik's daughter from Qatar, closed in a smoke-filled room with four other girls. Chain smoking marijuana, blowing smoke into each others' mouths. Real sleeping beauties. Vanessa was dressed-up like a member of Alex's gang from, A Clockwork Orange. She closed the door after I entered, shoved a towel back under it, then started snorting cocaine off the cover of, Women's Wear Daily. The room was thick. 

When I woke-up the next day everyone had disappeared.

END

 

  • "Smear" 

4:

Moonlight Drive

A month before 2012, Katie and I went for a late-night drive and stopped at a small strip mall. It was warm and when we got out of the car we could smell the ocean. I was surprised to see that the frame shop had large picture frames propped-up outside and that the back door was open; someone was working inside. I thought about stealing the frames... They were nice, glass, clean mattes inside. Big frames. 7x3 feet. My pickup truck was nearby but we didn't take them. We walked around the corner of the strip mall to TJ's house. TJ was a friend of my cousin from New Jersey, I wasn't sure how Katie knew TJ too but she knocked on the door as if eager for a reply. Nobody answered.

We walked past the frames, got into the car and left. Katie said, "I want to take you to my favorite place." The car went around some hills. Down, down past a meadow lit in moon-light. She kept going faster and faster. Trees shot up into our headlights then out of view again. We started spiraling down. It would be fun to sled down these hills. The spiraling didn't make me dizzy but I couldn't see out the windshield. I kept having to sit on my hands and prop myself up to see out. "Here's my favorite part!" she said. She wasn't quite being her self. "And, here's the Atlantic Ocean." The car felt airbourne. "And, here's the Pacific Ocean!" She said. Wow, that is incredible. I didn't know where we were; I guess it must be near San Diego... Or someplace in Mexico. "We're moving pretty fast!" I yelled.

She parked, we got out into sunlight and walked over to the surf. Jungle noise echoed through the trees behind us. I splashed my foot in the water childishly as if to impress her. "You're going to wash that foot in fresh water before getting back in the car, yes?" She said pleadingly. She was being cute but it was still annoying. 

In the water a spiral ying-yang amidst flotsam sparkled. It floated past my feet iridescently melting my brain in nonsense symbolism. I thought of Roman Polanski's movie "Chinatown," but didn't say anything out loud about it... I didn't want to spoil the movie for her. 

END



  • "Somewhere in Australia"