"SCHMARTIST STATEMENT" - Impractical Diversions
My practices consist of both two and three dimensional works. In two dimensions I produce large scale oil paintings on canvas and smaller mixed media works on paper. My works on paper, which I refer to as “works on paper” simply to categorize- not because they are all on paper – are comprised of collage elements and both figurative and abstract drawing done with office grade supplies rather than archival materials. The collage elements I work with come from current paper media; the daily printed press is a huge inspiration to my work. Art exists to me as a visual and tactile experience in which I play more the role of a craftsman than I do a director of culture. I do not formulate thoughts or opinions on the symbolic nature of my work before the work itself is fully actualized in my eyes and make most of my process decisions based on composition or color-structure elements; the practice for me is in motivating the viewers eye to maintain dialogue with the page, not on cultural inclination but, on some chemical principle that draws the eye in to each piece regardless of what it might be ‘saying’. Often inwardly interested in the financial implications of my practice, the materials I work with all hold for me symbols of social value as my subject matter. The clash of oil paint- the historic medium of the wealthy and privileged used to depict imagery of luxury items and decadent foods shown across hand-crafted canvas structures- with accessible media of boxed crayons, BIC pens, and fluorescent stickers on the recognizable compositions of the Sports Sunday page of the New York Times. I am constantly fascinated with themes of futility, de-valuation, non sequiturs, and the ambiguity and understanding of cultural luxury.
Futility represents for me a sense of economic struggle as well as a struggle for relevance, perhaps, in todays world of hundreds of social circles, a struggle for where to be relevant more than what for. Futility for me represents a phasing out of one’s utility or skill, especially in a realm of something like painting or drawing on paper with pens or working on canvas in a time of such tools as virtual reality- feeling like I can derive more from such futile parts of culture both bothers me conceptually but visually items of irrelevance inspire me. Putting together two objects no one is paying attention two can all of a sudden create a dialogue and maybe even a statement able to push a current conversation forward – creating worth. That is amazing to me.
In my work with oil paint specifically, I am fascinated with themes of devaluation and visual Mastery of that which has been discounted whether it be a knock off of an existing logo, a hand painted sign outside of a party supply store, a hand painted car decal graphic, or any non branded object potentially indicative of lower-class living. Largely consisting of wild cartoonish curves and synthetic color palette, the stark contrast of that imagery with those of classical oil paint contents of maybe, still lives, vanitas paintings, or any classical figurative works by the old masters. These tropes sometimes appear in my work; not always. Materially, my desire for Mastery of craft often crosses paths with a notion that there is a craft to accurately depicting even so-called lower class imagery; that mastery in my work is an umbrella term existing just as much in depicting effectively what inspires me.
I do not plan my paintings and do not paint from any observation or reference. I choose what to paint as I go and my paintings undergo about two or three major changes in the process – connecting non sequitur images as I go. I make my decisions based on composition and color, as if I am constructing an abstract painting and the images that come forward just so happen to already be there waiting to be rendered.
That being said I do have subject matter tendencies. My work delves in to the subject matter of the culture I grew up in not being exposed to fine arts or museums and utilizes the poetry of twentieth century cartoon comedy to access a type of humor that strives to transcend verbal language – addressing sad politically relevant issues while subverting them with a wry smile of insincerity, slap stick figurative gestures, and deliberate immaturity.
Art, in its most wondrous iteration derives its binding qualities – not from an assemblage of vague compositions and color combination, but from a profound likening to the human desire for love and to be understood.