This artist statement is unlike any other I’ve ever written. I’ve done the typical art school and grad school statements, with lots of big words, lofty concepts, and convoluted sentences to make me feel like a great and important artist. But at this point in my life, I’d rather be genuine than important.
I am not the most prolific artist you will ever meet. There are noticeable gaps, fits, and starts within my creative output. Years have gone by with virtually nothing tangible to show, while other years have yielded a firestorm of activity. Some of this is probably just my personality, and that’s okay. Some of it is that I have a demanding full-time job (that I love) at a nonprofit arts center, that I care for my aging mother who now lives with my wife and me, that we have the great joy and responsibility for caring for a large-ish menagerie of resident, feral, and foster cats, and that I’m well past my twenties and can’t pull all-nighters anymore. I don’t mean to make excuses, but I do mean to accept reality for what it is and know that I can only do so much.
It’s no surprise that my on-again, off-again way of working hasn’t been conducive for compiling a viable exhibition record either. Eyeing the paucity of the exhibition section of my resume, an outside observer could easily judge that I’m not all that serious about my artistic vocation. But as a recovering lifelong perfectionist, I’ve negatively judged myself more times than I care to remember, and I’d like to move on now.
So as I surveyed my entire scope of work while compiling this website, I discovered that I’ve done some pretty cool things.
In my twenties, I excelled in every printmaking process and became quite good at papermaking and book arts. The best work from this period revealed my struggle to identify and clarify my religious beliefs and to see if I could do anything vocationally around them.
During my thirties, when I was a single and horribly anxious church worker with practically zero social life, I became a very good realist painter. I put this skill to subjects I care deeply about: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the sordid history of mental healthcare in Georgia, and my love of eerily abandoned former industrial and government buildings. I referred to the works created during this time as “documentary paintings.”
Now, in my late forties, I’m thankfully no longer single or a church worker, and am much less shy. My intellectual interests range from politics to comparative religion to astrophysics. I still love abandoned industrial places. And my creative work has taken a sharp turn toward digital art and graphic design, a new passion that has surprised me as much as it has enthralled me.
Through every decade and in every process with which I’ve worked, I have been creating a visual and spiritual autobiography. Every piece that feels authentic is a self-portrait, of one kind or another.