I am currently working on a collection of paintings that deal with our society’s continued misrepresentation and abuse of women. I came of age in the nineties, and was just old enough to enjoy a period of time when women were celebrated for being loud and intelligent in popular culture. However, as I got older, I began to realize, that despite the valiant struggles of women from my mother’s generation, and the later struggles of generation X women, that we were not quite where we needed to be yet. I find myself deeply disturbed by the way young women these days allow themselves to be exploited. People in general are far too comfortable these days being obedient consumers. Little girls are growing up under the impression that being an empowered female is somehow equated with being some strange hybrid of a princess / prostitute. This particular group of paintings deals with the absurdity of this kind of mindless, self indulgent, and destructive behavior.
Are you currently exhibiting your work? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?
I am currently showing in the very first group show at The Square Peg Artery. I have a few pieces that are going to be making their way to New York next month for a group show in Brooklyn.
If you had the time and resources to segue into another medium/ or art project, what do you think it might be?
I would love to work with digital video. I am seeing this explosion of amazing work coming out that utilizes the medium in ways that I could have never even imagined years ago. Of course it is much more affordable these days thanks to modern technology. I am hoping in the near future I can begin working on some film projects that could elevate some of the concepts that I am currently working with. I would also like to work with some good old fashioned stop motion animation. I have always enjoyed the awkwardness, as well as the presence of human error, that manifests itself with stop motion animation.
Do you have any non art interests you’d like to discuss?
I would definitely say I have a great interest in music which has had a seminal influence in my life. However, I found out I don’t necessarily have the ear to create it. I really admire those who do though.
I also enjoy amateur psychology, string theory, and long walks on the beach.
How would you define your visual style?
Part of my visual style is derived from pop & commercial art, but on the flip side I am also influenced by folk art. I also really enjoy using garish colors as a means by which to create a duality and interject a sense of absurdity into my work. Many of the paintings have a darkness or a chaos to them that are generally offput by my color choices – electric blue, hot pink, neon yellow, etc. Then again, some of them are meant to be playful and light, so there’s an interesting dichotomy there. I want people to wonder about the ambiguity of my paintings. From the overall vision to minute details like color and background images. I’m a big fan of metaphor, juxtaposition and internal dialogue. I want people to look and ask, ‘what is really going on here?’
What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?
I would say that the main theme of my work has been clairvoyance in society. When I think of clairvoyance I think of the ability to see things out of sight, a heightened perception or keen intuition. In many cases this idea is perceived as a supernatural power…the power to see objects that are removed from their original place in time and presented in a different manner. To me, this is the responsibility I have taken on as an artist. I challenge myself to see the hidden meanings behind everyday life. The concepts I work with have a wide range and scope. In much of my work I use found images, take them out of their original environment and place them in a simulated one to expose a greater truth or underlying meaning to the piece. There is a surrealism to it, a sense of the absurd, in many cases a dark humor. But I feel it is necessary to get my point across. Thanks to our modern society, and the nearly infinite number of images that are created every day, I never have a shortage of ideas or concepts to experiment with.
What’s your background?
I was raised in Philadelphia, by a very emotive, and eccentric family. My mother is an artist and a teacher, and I think I would have to trace a lot of my influence back to her. As I grow older I realize that I am very lucky to have had the support of my parents, and my family in all of my creative endeavors. It has really been their support, and the support of so many of the terrific people I have been able to study with that has allowed me the freedom to explore my imagination, and to go after what I love. It kills me to see so many brilliant artists my age give up on their passion in order to fulfill some traditional, capitalistic idea of success.
In terms of formal training, I studied painting, and photography at The Tyler School of Art.
What do you think of the Philly art scene? Are you involved with any groups or organizations?
I think that Philly art scene has really grown a lot in the past decade. I remember when I was younger the only place to be for art in the city was first Friday in Olde City. These days I am seeing some really exciting art communities popping up all over the city. I feel like there is more of a sense of community amongst many of the young artists that are here now. I think I can attribute a lot of the scene’s growth beyond the traditional parameters to the rise of social networking sites, and internet marketing. It has really allowed for the cities underground artists to have a larger audience than it could have had in the past.
The biggest hurdle we have had to overcome is the current state of the economy. I think when the country, and the city begins to recover from this recession, we may be able to build something here that is celebrated on a much larger scale.
What are you currently reading?
Introspection by Vincent John Ancona
Music you like:
I celebrate all any kind of music that reaches me, but I do tend toward Rock n’ Roll, and The Blues, and all of the interesting hybrids that have been spawned from them. I absolutely adore David Bowie, the great glitter chameleon, he has always been a huge inspiration to me.
What are some of your interests?
People Interest me. Curiosity also interests me. I enjoy peeling away the layers to see what is below the surface, and how I can interact with what I find inside of it.
Favorite visual artists?
Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombley, Ryan Trechartin, David LaChapelle, Andrew Dyer, Nan Goldin, Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, Sigmor Polke, The Brothers Quay, willem de kooning, Frida Kahlo, Basquiat. and of course all of the beautiful nameless artists who have let their work drift into the thrift shops, and flea markets of the world.
Favorite movies? I am totally obsessed with The Eyes of Tammy Faye at the moment.
I love Blingee.com, it’s this ridiculous photo manipulation site that people used to use back in the Myspace days. As much as I enjoy using it for inspiration for some of my plaques, I am far more interested in sorting through all of the images made by people who would not neccesarily consider themselves artists. It’s kind of like high tech folk art.
If someone were to come to your town/ city to visit, what places/ bars/ parks/ events etc should they be sure to check out?
The first place I would send anyone visiting Philadelphia for the first time would be the Rim Cafe at 9th and Federal. This place is truly a gem, if you have not been there yet, I recommend you go as soon as possible. I have never in all of my travels experienced a place with so much wonderful energy. The owner Rene is a true artist with his caffenated concotions. You don’t simply get a cup of coffee, you get a delicious performance.
If you’re lucky enough to visit when the Philadelphia Independent Crafter’s market is going on, I would suggest you make a point of going there as well. The director, and creator of the Market, Julie Raboczi is one of the coolest ladies you will ever meet. She always works very carefully to ensure that the true bohemian spirit of Philadelphia’s creative underground comes alive at the show. Not to mention, you can always find some great deals on some of the coolest arts and crafts in the region.
Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?
Not at the moment, but I am always available to discuss, dissect, or inspect just about anything via email at firstname.lastname@example.org