I create contemporary figurative paintings whose subjects are inspired by real people I have observed in my life. I believe the most vivid and meaningful interactions of figures, space and light occur out in the world. I seek out those moments, document them by sketching and taking photographs, and ultimately manipulate those observations to create compositions utilizing both classical and digital techniques. The moment I end up encapsulating is rarely composed of a single observed or photographed moment. Through my figurative paintings I hope to communicate the specific and unique emotions of those people I observe.
Figurative painting can create a unique intimacy between the viewer and the depicted. The precise expression I want to make is not of a photorealistic or mechanical sort, but instead of an intuitive quality. Through the process of intense looking, painting, I form opinions and make relationships between people even if I do not interact with them directly. It is not perfect, and I do not know if what I am thinking is true. But is a reality which I hope to lay bare and share with others through the tradition of painting. I think that condition as a painter is one shared with many people who spend parts of their lives around strangers, observing and reflecting.
My guiding criterion for choosing which scenes to paint is how well it expresses the thought I wanted to express through the painting. I believe figurative art clearly and emphatically communicates ideas to the viewer. Another criterion is how well the scene allows me to explore space, light and figures to create a complex scene full of lively figures. Ultimately only the painting shows that thing about the scene that grabbed my attention.
My process involves repetitious and preparative draftsmanship juxtaposed with spontaneous and succinct decisions and expression. My painting choices are informed by a variety of painting movements. This way of working speaks to my understanding of memory. It can be both through repetitive exposure and spontaneous epiphany that memories come to us, and in all cases that memory is its own new altered creature that is removed from any reality that exists beyond consciousness. Without the act of painting and engaging visually with the people I see in my life, I may have forgotten the experiences entirely. In giving these experiences visual form, I’ve endowed the moments and people with a type of significance. In a time when countless images are available at our fingertips, I believe the choice to commit to images is more daunting but more important than ever.