My parents left Detroit for California in the summer of 1987, and that’s where my story begins.
Running into the horizon in my mom’s black Chrysler La Baron convertible,
To a one-bedroom apartment in Sunnyvale.
With the promise of the warm from the sun on your face;
New territory, never ending highways between golden rolling hills
Steinbeck wrote of the Pastures of Heaven along 152,
Where the smell of garlic is thick on a foggy morning
Billboards and fruit stands line the cotton candy painted skies
Approaching faster in distance; I find myself racing out towards the horizon
Cherries for $3.99
Fresh pistachios $5.99
There is more distance between places and I spend more time traveling between them
My legs are stuck to the hot black leather seats; take me down the road
I remember driving as far as I could to see what came next,
Riding past all the strawberries on a one lane track
Hypnotized by the rapid succession of each row, approaching faster, nearer
Watching the details blur over my shoulder on the way home,
That vastness you can’t touch, but only see from a distance.
Once you see it coming, it’s already too late.
At the end of San Andreas Road, the strawberry fields fall into the ocean.
Consumed by the infinite distance on that crisp blue horizon,
Cliffs signal land’s end, and the signs stop.
Like nothing ever happened;
Gone like a flash.
I left behind that legend of the West for two-dollar coffee and cold concrete.
The land of a thousand dreams, I say that world is gone now.
Alone in the driver’s seat of a Budget rental truck down interstate 80
Traveling 800 miles each sundown, against the path carved out by my parents 25 years earlier
My mom always taught me to take the little shampoos and soaps from hotels we would stay at
You never know when you would use them, but eventually they would come in handy.
I check my rear view mirror and look at the shadow of the distance traveled behind me
Wave goodbye, blow a kiss.
Hot rain fell from the sky the first time I saw the Philadelphia skyline
The smell of wet, black top and trash in early August welcomed me
Along with people sitting on their porches to avoid the downpour
I don’t drive anymore; I walk from point to point, here to there and back again
Tracing my steps back again down the pavement,
Bricks, wheels, rails, bridges, cigarette butts and iron gates, constant horns and sirens
One foot in front of the other, faster
Lost in the midst of the crowd, the dust, the rust and grime
The underground intersections between points on a grid
Good morning old friend, come and see me again
Pockets full of change and always on the move
Here to there and back again,
Simultaneously moving through points that are closer together
Double lacing my high tops every morning, I step out the door with my eyes peeled
Making use of what I find along the way, knuckles tight from the Northeast air.
I get caught up in something else in the world, tripping on the uneven bricks beneath my feet.
The city is always falling apart and being reconstructed.
From the cold black top to the hot concrete,
The energy of decay came into my life and I don’t even care.
Coming to grips with the good and the bad,
Built on top of, around and between
Consuming the city as it consumes me
Spitting it back up, make no mistake
Cover up this part, replace it with something new, something better
Directly interacting with everything passing me by
Sometimes uncomfortably intimate,
Seamlessly lost in Philadelphia
There are no barriers to keep me at a safe distance
No interference, only clarity between myself and the crowd, myself and the street
Trying to keep up with what’s in front of me
I have always lived inside an image based culture.
Consumer society taught me how to become literate in visual imagery and read messages,
But never to excavate the origins of my most cherished rituals and assumptions.
You know, the things that appear around me every day in the world that most don’t question
The images that circulate throughout society are constantly being constructed, reconstructed and recycled.
And here I am, decoding the ever more complex messages, signs and traces of the everyday
The current accessibility of endless information through digital and printed sources has made it easy to combine and recombine.
And form a version that is my own.
Images I am drawn to speak a language of graphic sensibility. The boldest fonts. The brightest colors. What wakes you up and keeps you going. It's loud, fast and sure. That billboard seen 10 miles down the horizon or the takeout menu stuck under your doormat for weeks. I crave that heavy downpour smacking against my cheek. It doesn’t whisper, it shouts in your face.
Every source, situation and identity morphs continually depending on time, place and disposition.
Things, places and people come and go; nothing is permanent.
Here I go again,
Sifting through the rubble to find something that can be made again, reused, and combined.
Bit by bit by bit.
Are you in or out?
Life goes on.
My hand activates an existing source; I see myself as a catalyst that transfers other peoples’ hands, heart, head and voices in a collaborative process.
The focus on my work isn’t myself, even though I am the composer, the chooser.
One that mixes, not just in terms of imagery, but in terms of methodologies.
I use the found and the felt, the improvisational and the strategic.
Some things you stumbled upon or you think you find.
Other things you run right back into, or they find you all over again.
Most of the time I make do with what I have available to me.
A certain type of fragmentation.
I deal with pieces, scraps.
These pieces are something I want to hold on to,
Something that presented a value to me I need to preserve, save.
I will find a use for them later, within my visual lexicon of sources, fragments.
Pick up the pieces and put them back together, like brand new
The bodilessness of information is the recombiner’s pleasure.
The hardest part is deciding which are worth keeping.
And which parts you could throw away.
Not all shards are worth saving.
Constructing images through methods of collage is immediate and ferocious;
No time to thick twice, no room for second guessing.
Making a quick decision right then and there; Get on with it, hurry up!
The result of rapidly combining forms, shapes and text together is instantly gratifying and indulging.
Collage is a form of urgent process, response and action.
Second guessing destroys the intensity of the present; the present moment is the most important moment.
That snapshot freezing time and place, solidifying the value of the image.
I have always been taught that contemporary painting must reference the present moment.
That the present is the most important moment to deconstruct and signify
These times we live in are bold, intense. I get lost in it.
I make paintings that embody the present moment and place in which I find myself.
My work reflects what is going through my mind and pulsating through my body.
I do not edit myself or my impulsivities while making.
The images never stop, so the process will never end
I have to make; I will always make.
This is just my version
I occupy myself in the seamless integration of various surfaces and forms within that surface.
Rectifying the incoherence of mark-marking between a digital surface and painted gesture,
I am informed by the graphic crispness of the way images are digested
Lines can connect images, points, references and surfaces
Painting on digital and printed materials serves to expose the fragility of the surface.
Paper is valuable because of its tactile proximity to language and pure information.
Books stamps, letters, stickers, notes, posters, maps, magazines, newspapers, scrapbooks
We are trained use paper, read paper, respond to it.
Paper is as a source of tactile flexibility that is widely circulated, manipulated, and recombined.
Something already there for me to find, hold, read, take with me, rapidly consume
Silently ferocious and something worth saving
Paper is evidence
Paper is a trace
Paper is a recollection
Paper is a base
I can hold this in my hand, destroy it, spit it back up, make it into something else, or just throw it away
I tear what the world gives me into pieces and put it back together with paint
Tearing is an act of frustration, defiance and play against what is brilliantly manufactured for me to consume.
Ripping is a way for me to physically expose rough edges and ideas that do not align perfectly.
I’m making sense of all the parts as they appear
Not all relationships are seamless, but mark making can pull sources, images and text together.
That immediate gesture and line in the form of brushstroke is so gratifying, instant
Painting is as immediate as I am, as burning as the present moment; a source of direct activation
Paintings can be read in the same way as paper, books and information
But I don’t want my paintings to be read so easily, I choose to distort and delay the instant
Distortion is still a method of processing, a method of layering information
My paintings have reached a higher level of density than ever before
Induced by the rapid compilation of sources and signals
Filling up the spaces of my daily existence
I include everything I can within an image, unable to leave anything out
Let me hide here in everything I see, everything I’m exposed to
The breathing room that once lived inside my paintings has vanished;
it’s been filled with more density, more noise and more chaos.
That chaos speaks to the way I approach making images.
Signs. Layers. Versions. Faster, Nearer. More intense.
Loud. Fast. Bold. Unrestricted. Turn me up. Set me free.
I don’t know how to whisper.