It’s official. I am starting grad school in January. Otis School of Art and Design. I’m really excited. It’s been 24 years since I graduated from Cal State Fullerton. I am a different person. I am a different artist. I’m hoping that will be the start of a new me. A new career. New opportunities. I am anxious to make art again. To be inspired to work.
The first thing I ever drew was a horse’s ass. I was about two years old. My mother gave me a small note pad and a pencil to entertain me on a long drive. No backseat DVD’s in those days. There was a horse trailer traveling on the freeway in front of us, so I drew what I saw. It wasn’t detailed. Just a rear view of a butt in a box. My mother was so proud of what I’d done. She saved that drawing for many years. Showed it to everyone she knew, and they laughed and complimented me. I have been making marks ever since. I think that on some fundamental level, that one experience as a very young boy is why I have made art my entire life. Or at least it’s what gave me my start.
While my art has evolved since my first attempt, my reasons for making art have remained the same in many ways. I create things for my own enjoyment. My art inhabits the same environment that I do; it makes me feel connected to my space. My home. I am always thrilled when people are attracted to my work, but above all I make art for myself.
In my daily life I struggle with trying to bring order to what I find to be a chaotic world. My paintings often hint at that as well. There may be wildly scattered lines bound by geometric shapes, or a small field of very agitated or complex brushstrokes in a large field of blank space. I was most influenced by two exhibits I saw in the early stages of my art career: A show of early twentieth-century German Expressionism at the LACMA in the 1980’s, and the work of the New York School of artists of the 1950’s. I was immediately drawn to those styles. I find them beautiful, and I find that my work often mimics those artists.
My current work is the summation of my experiences so far. Math was my strongest subject in high school. Naturally, when I started college at age sixteen, I was a math major. I wasn’t sure what the future would hold for me at such a young age. I dabbled and floundered, and then I took a drawing class. It was my junior year, and I immediately fell in love with art –with the way it was taught and with the people in the art department. Still, there is a lot of geometry in my work. There are also elements of graphic design, which I did professionally for thirteen years.
Ultimately, my work is still evolving. When I first started painting in college, my art was far more overt in its telling of a story. I’m also pretty emotional and I find that I can express that through painting. That said, it was often painful for me to look at my early work, so I made a conscious decision to stop representing a tangible narrative and to make my work non-representational. My most recent work has occasionally creeped back into narrative, but in very subtle ways. The very act of making marks or even simply mixing paint continues be cathartic for me.