I am forming this to you as a letter open to the people who follow my art as I think this information, thoughts, and questions may be interesting to them as well as they follow my work. I appreciate the time you are taking to go through this and give me feedback. Having been a part of the commercial creative world for over a decade I understand how precious each minute of time and moment of consideration is.
In the course of my last email I talked about a difficulty in clarity, basically being unsure of a number of things. I felt a looming wall that had to be either crashed through or surmounted. Well, there are countless things that I still need to work on but I believe that in the course of the last week with the help of a friend and a few key pieces I completed, I know which direction I will be taking next.
I approached you in the gallery for 2 basic reasons.
One, the obvious, is that I'm looking for a gallery to hang and sell my work. Two, I'm looking answers, but to questions I'm not even sure what they are and I am hoping through your viewing and insight into my work I might begin to figure those out.
Yes, I might sound cocky, over confident, and all that noise, and my tone/questions might be a little offsetting at times, but I am this way for many good reasons. The context of which spans, at this point, probably close to a million written words over a period of 20 years since I started being myself, dozens of countries, hundreds of projects, countless attempts at a lot of stuff with countless failures and some success. The greatest lesson I have learned is that I have so much more to learn, but that shouldn't stop me in being confident that I can do what I set out to do, even if it does take a lifetime.
So, before you nod off from too much text, let me get to the visual context of the pieces I want to show you.
All of those pieces were completed over the period of 4 months.
They are harsh, unskilled, energetic, and undirected...which should be expected since I'd never done something like this before. They range from mounted canvas, to raw canvas, and paper, sized from 12x12 to 36x36. For me, size is only a matter of if I have enough paint, and as soon as I can afford it I'll be playing with some 6'x6' canvases with some ideas that have been brewing. I want to show you not necessarily an evolution, but an endless attack on trying new things. Seeking the ability not to speak, not yet, but to form recognizable noises and bring them into some semblance of understandability. So that not only I see something in them, but that others, because of the base energy I inserted, are able to find their own interpretations. I have what I wanted to say through them, but I want other people to also be able to bring their own view point. In a way you could say I was feeling out some sort of emotional vocabulary with color. This whole spat of abstract is actually a continuation of color experimentation that started with a previous series...but that's a different story.
So, with that brief introduction here are the pieces I wanted to show you
As they, to me, feel like important pieces in that they were the turning point in my thought process or they feel, well, just right. I want to make a note that these are not the best of the best images on purpose. I feel that if you want to examine them in real detail, it would be better to view them in person. Art in person is always better anyways.
This piece is what started my entire drive into abstract expressionism. The moment at which I decided to just throw down paint onto a canvas to try and let them steam that had built in me. I felt a literal scream rising in my throat as I threw down each bit. Left, right, up down, this small 16x20 canvas got beat up. Following this piece I primed over two other preview works to continue the emotion I had let loose. Cheap canvas, cheap paint, all of my emotion just beginning to let themselves out in some voiceless scream. Pretty to others, probably not, but to me, the beginning of a sentence that would take 4 months to finish.
There is a string that connects this piece and the first. This is from my early attempts at working on paper because canvas (I thought) was too expensive. What makes this piece special is that it is the first time I got into the mindset of total experimentation. My paper was lying on the floor with the first couple splashes on it, waiting for me to get going, when I accidentally knocked over a glass spilling water all over the paper. Instead of becoming frustrated and throwing it all out, I realized I had nothing to loose and should just give something a try. This was the result. I believe at this point there was also a number of unconscious controls beginning to take affect and control the way in which I worked the color and lines.
Something I struggled with, and of course still do being so new to this, is intention.
What do I WANT something to look like, versus what I create. My subconscious desires sometimes ride roughshod over my conscious intention to let out something that has been sitting in the back of my skull. I do not see this as a bad thing, but, I do wish to have the opportunity to create that which I consciously when I want to. These two pieces are an example of me setting out to do something I really wanted to do. I want to say that only 2 other people know the story behind this piece so you will be the third.
A piece of paper torn in two, like my brother and I. Seemingly two people constantly recognized as one even through only I remain. Our colors are the same, yet arranged differently. People paid attention to that, not how we were built, how we lived, how we acted. The one difference is the fact that I continued and so mine has one more color...and hopefully more going into the future. Basically one of my first forays into abstract portraiture of people I know. This was a concept I continued later on through commissions from people I know and now hang in various offices and homes around the country.
Okay, so that was the pregame. This is where I'm at now. My latest pieces.
This is a trilogy of pieces I did (triptych I believe) that I completed after having a super strong desire to run away from color for a minute.
I was in the middle of my 100 paintings series (100 16x20's paid for by sponsors which is soon to be finished) and felt I had had enough of color for a bit. By this point I think I'd done 120 or 130 other paintings and wanted to stretch my legs. I believe these paintings were the beginning of me understanding the importance of a background, and how it can be used to add to and influence the story I was trying to tell. I believe the though going around in my head was, 'how does one make the simplicity of black and white engaging in a chroma coma induced audience.'
A minor theme that has popped up in several of my pieces are boxes and solid colors like this to take complex forms and simplify them.
Or, to have fun balancing them. Or, in some ways a middle finger to art and this intense irrational idea that keeps on coming up in my head that it has to be complex. Pieces like this, for me, are an insight into myself as I struggle to break the filters that have built up inside of me over my entire life. Is this art? Is this ok? Does this make sense? If I can answer yes, and it fits in the overall context of me and the other work I've done, or plan to do, then, yes. I prefer this orientation to the piece but it can be turned almost any direction as my friends have found to create different meanings, to them. That seems to be a theme to much of my abstraction, no right way up...and it might be common to other work as well, I don't know.
This piece to me evokes great frustration and inspiration.
In an attempt to try and understand the working of my own mind I began to play in strange fields using techniques I'd never tried. This 3x3 raw canvas got me thinking about a number of things, especially focused on the concept of balance of shapes, and how weights can create certain emotions. Commercially it's a zero, but, like the beginning of a lose thread on a sweater, it has my subconscious pulling hard and I'm excited to see how this works into the next stage of my creating. I already have plans for some sculpture that use this concept but move in a bit of a different and more pointed direction.
This piece...I just like.
Pictures can't even begin to capture the energy I feel this painting contains. That is, of course, just my opinion. As one of the final works I did before this current chapter ended, it is both a piece of great frustration, and great hope. Inside the lines I sit watching, full of chaos, full of energy, yet, not quite defined.
I must apologize, but my mind has turned to mush as I have been writing all day for different things. My point of all this was to show context and depth and hopefully garner some advice to help propel me forward. I may only be getting out of the starting blocks in many ways, but I am coming at it with the experience of someone who has walked many paths. There is an itch way deep down and far back in my head that I can no longer not scratch.
Again, thank you for your time in reading through and looking at my work.
If you would like to look at in detail anything you've seen here I would be more than glad to drop by with the actual piece and chat about it. Chatting is more fun that reading anyways...unless it's a good book.