2015-17 STUDIO Residents
ARTIST STAtements & Porfolios
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As a mold maker, I design and construct a form, make a mold from it, and predictably repeat that form, harnessing the power of the multiple by arranging like objects in space. As a slip caster, I use porcelain to cast these objects and then collaborate with the kiln, allowing the warping and shifting that takes place in the firing to affect the way that each form takes its final position. As a print maker, I utilize the interior surface of the mold as my block, building layers of information that will later be exposed. I observe and document what I see, experience, and dream, and then embed this information in the surfaces of my porcelain forms.As a story teller, I draw inspiration from my environments and my own personal history. By extracting an image, a texture, a contour, a pattern, or text from a moment in my life, I begin to build. I construct multiple components into a single piece to signify the notion that these events are fleeting, never still, and can be taken apart and interpreted in different ways.
Through all of these processes, I am continually on a path of discovery. Each day I open my eyes to be a witness to the world that I live in, I find seeds of inspiration. And each day I arrive in the studio, it is through the meditative action of repeating forms, noticing subtleties, and making choices that I learn a bit more about myself and my surroundings. It is as much a practice in observation, reflection, and decision-making as it is in design, construction, and repetition.
Once the work leaves my studio, it takes on a new identity as it relates to an audience. In this case, I simply want people to feel. I want them to pause long enough to experience their own emotions. I want to provide opportunity for them to sit with the bright warmth of the material and feel like they can stop and breathe for a moment. It's about an honesty. I hold the notion that if I am truly honest in my process and in my intentions of translating my thoughts and experiences, that will come through in the work. And not always as directly as telling a story, but more in the way of setting emotion into object and environment almost like a mirror to reflect people's stories back to themselves.
The FAIR GAME Project is a collection of artworks that contribute to the ongoing conversation concerning the plight of the African American male. From crime, disease, educational, economic, and wealth disparities, to the prison system, unjustified arrests and murders to self-inflicted genocide the list is unfortunately long. The FAIR GAME Project is inspired by my belief that African American males are being hunted like wild game. This imagery depicts silhouette hybrids of deer-men running, leaping, and falling trying to get away from their predators and abstractions with mixed media collage.
The work focuses on the historical love and hate dichotomies between America and the African American Male and African American Males with themselves. In an age in which Americans romanticize about a ‘post racial society,’ there seems to be an obsession with African American culture yet sometimes dismissive and repulsive behaviors toward people of color. A racial equation was consciously added to the composition of this work because race is an important factor in one’s definition of community and much of the work is based on personal identity.
Currently, the process is one of exploration, studying ‘African American identity, from an individual and communal perspective. There are intriguing non-definitive elements about abstraction; it never is a black-and-white situation and allows one to convey a message using language (design, shape, color, and structure) to communicate different types of narratives. Painting can be appealing because of its cultural fluency. The desire is to communicate personal observations successfully by using the work as a didactic tool.
Through exploring interaction, collection and documentation, I seek to uncover a variety of means by which to redefine encounters with space and society. Many of my works are interactive in both process and product and offer new perspectives and commentary on that which may go forgotten or otherwise unnoticed. Art does not exist in a vacuum. The world is saturated with objects. I am interested in finding the life and networks that exist in the spaces between them.
Multiple layers of intervention question the need for information and origin in order to make sense of photographic imagery. The dialogue between representation and abstraction creates a tension, a push and pull between connectedness and unfamiliarity, while further reconstructions of photographic materiality further this digression. New landscapes emerge and reside between a state of transformation and limbo. I employ photography to consider how perceive the real world through a medium that is associated with a socially constructed illusion. The resulting imagery has created a disconnection to photography and emerges more visually connected to painting. These works further explore collective identity, self and bodily continuity amongst other existential questions.
I aim to understand and see the photographic medium beyond its usual callings and uses. It is important for me to seek unique ways of bending the photographic language and question conventional ways of creating light and lens-based imagery through a strong focus on process. I want my work to encourage and engage my audience to reexamine the conventional roles and processes of the medium. The possibilities are limitless.
The world appears to be an abundance of separate people, ideas, places, and matter. Yet all divided things have something in common: they originate from the same whole. My job is to connect fragments together again- back to One. I am all-inclusive. I do not rule out any medium. From glass to metal, clay to found objects, paint, wood, paper, industrial waste - I submerse myself in an array of unfamiliar techniques and materials to constantly shatter my comfort zone. My work often incorporates matter with preexisting history; abandoned objects, broken pieces, and fragments of an unspecific whole. My process is a constant flux of building up and breaking down in order to discover a balanced form. I need to sweat, to be physical, primal and get dirty in order for an art session to feel worthwhile. Whether I am welding, cutting, grinding, assembling, painting, or forming glass, I have abundant energy which must be released through art. While creating, my thoughts are typically reverent to the imperfection of myself and the world around me; division, brokenness, turmoil... My goal is to encapsulate this universal discord, find relationships between the separated fragments, and bring together a united whole. The optimal conclusion of each artwork is a balanced composition of varying encounters found by building up layers of experiences and history. Facial and figurative forms appear often in my larger sculptures. I see nothing on this earth more scattered and in need of togetherness than humanity. Recently, images of a home or dwelling have likewise become important to me. I encounter abundant peace while building a solid structure using scattered remnants of waste that I find as I walk through the city. The concept of my work is admittedly simple: throughout life, we are searching for home, a resting place of peace. As we grow, we build our home using the fragments of who we are, what we’ve endured, and the relics of our experiences.
Within each of my works resides strong commentary towards both the benevolence and malevolence of mankind; subjects which scatter humanity, and likewise the grace that pulls us together. Racial, social, domestic, economic, and environmental issues are addressed and questioned in nearly every work. I spend some mental energy contemplating them; although my primary focus is on the broader rhythm from which all issues stem – the breaking down and building up of life as we know it– the rhythm of existence. Artwork revolving around brokenness and connectedness is inspired by direct contact in my everyday life. I witness the struggle and beauty of humanity each day, implementing art-making at homeless shelters, cancer centers, health and hospice facilities. Not a day passes in which I fail to observe creative empowerment, strength, and healing that art sparks within/between people. The mending-nature of art that I constantly witness fuels my drive to spread it relentlessly, within myself and wherever I go.
Nature is ripe. Ripe not only with the potential to nourish us, but ripe with the possibility to instruct us through symbol, metaphor and direct engagement. My work is about the ways the natural world interacts with human systems and how this interaction can point to a deeper understanding of the world, humanity and the relationships between them.
Alone, collaboratively and across a variety of materials and media, I explore Nature's power to provide revelation and solace. Often using herbs or other medicinal plants as the primary image source, I investigate the manifold ways in which Nature can positively influence human life. In a world that is becoming increasingly artificial, my work is a reminder of the learning potential that waits in the roots, stems and leaves all around us.
My goal is to create situations, objects and images which celebrate the natural world and engage in its power to enlighten us. For the casual viewer, I hope to at least make something that is interesting or pleasant to look at. But for those who want more, I strive to provide a unique conceptual foundation to stimulate the viewer's intellect. In the words of Alan Watts, “We were not placed onto the Earth, but born out of it.” I believe if we take the time to pause, look and listen, Nature has much to say about how to be ourselves.
“Through the filter of an artist’s thoughts, imagination gains its physical shape. Dialog forms within these images, the complex interwoven symbols of language. From our culture, these details gain strength and pattern. History and environment seek a deep root within these patterns. As light attaches to a contemporary color palette, the emerging images showcase an inner dialog of culture and history.”
I use to have a fluffy artist statement.
But I got tired of trying to figure out why I do something I am addicted to. I am driven to create and the process is enchanting, therefore I create. My career has spanned over a decade of work, shows, museums and art hustling to create a career for myself and others. I have learned a lot, lost a lot and have created things I never thought could exist.
In contrast, the closer I got to the “fine art” world the more I felt like I didn’t fit into the narrative that world wants you to create for them... so I dropped out of pursuing that as my route to a creative life. I started to understand that I am addicted to creativity, not fine art specifically. Fine art was just a small percentage of the creative universe. Currently I am concentrating on combining multiple disciplines to further mutate my creative process. Because in the end, it was only about the process.