Statments & Essays

Brave New World

(Artist statement circa 2001)

Why?  Why bother with such a labor of  love?

Because it’s our world.

After photography displaced traditional mediums as a primary form of recording reality, other art forms were freed to explore and detour away from stale portraits and public monuments. The fluidness of mediums like sculpture and painting allowed them to redefine themselves. Now the ability to work digitally with photographs has allowed that modicum of freedom for photography from it’s own finality. I don’t see myself as a digital artist or even a photomontage artist but more of a photographic painter. I see this machine as a photographic tool allowing me to melt the initial images. The final product of most photographers is my start. My photos are my pigments and brushstrokes.

The power of photography is based in reality. When you see a painting of a street urchin, you know the painter wanted you to feel a certain way; he/she has attempted to convey an emotion that he/she may or may not be successful at. When you see a photo of a starving child, it is real. Granted a photographer can be more or less apt at intensifying the drama, but that is a real person you are looking at. That acknowledgment holds power beyond the skill of the artist. When a painter paints a morphed, distorted figure, he has created a new world. When I morph and distort a photograph of a figure, I am rearranging the REAL world.

Our society is fat and mean and cold and I love it. I love the constant assault of senseless imagery, and I do not cry like so many but am a well wisher of it. The fact that I will never be able to decipher any of it doesn’t torment me but is actually a strange, cold comfort. I felt so frustrated when I held a paintbrush or a pen. I could not move my hand fast enough and the stacks of half-finished sketches attest to a decade of half drunken frustration and failure. Now I move with the gracious speed of God. My photos are malleable long after they are taken and anything in my reach is material. I am plugged into the miraculous machine and I fear nothing. The images flow as fluid energy and spontaneous creation is a testament to my new religion.

I want to go farther than possessing those individual moments contained in photos. I want to possess reality and make my own futile attempts to bend it to my will. My goal is to create a sense of greater narrative without giving the viewer any easy answers, or any answers at all. I try to place my work smack dab in the eye of the storm where it is calm but where the rubble is flying around me so I can examine it. I see a reality composed of infinite codes and clues that are overwhelming when examined. We exist in a puzzled with so many pieces that we can’t even start to put it together.

My new medium is a paradox in traditional art history that I seem to ponder day and night wishing to resolve. How do I “feel” so much more through a non-textile medium. yes my endeavors eventually produce prints, but they are delivered to me. The artistic equivalent to a test tube baby. I am removed from their “physical” creation. As if I created a thought, and then willed it into existence. I make a wish and the printer brings it to me. Automatic thought, automatic art. Automatic everything. Our brave new world is upon us, leaving nothing but ashes in it’s wake.

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