THE BIG SHIP: You cite your work as being inspired by “turn of the century European art” and the influence is clear, but you then combine this with contemporary image and concern. Why do you use this style in particular for your work? Is there thought behind the choice and if so, what?
PLASTIC REPEATER: I believe that it is just in my instinct to paint in that style. Jagged strong lines appeal to me, and I see this used very obviously by people like Van Gogh or Picasso. I also am an avid fan of 4th dimensional theory and surrealism. This is more 1920s but I could say my influences extend up to the 40s since I’m a huge fan of Francis Bacon as well. I would say I am also influenced by film and music. I graduated college with a video production degree as well as a degree in drama and a minor in screenwriting. I didn’t pursue art seriously until late 2016. Other influences include Freud, and sexuality and the subconscious. What is cool about Picasso is that he learned to paint like the old masters before he developed his own style. That is one goal of mine – to paint like Michelangelo but I often run out of patience and kind of prefer a more stylized image than a realistic one. Still, I wish I had more tools in my wheelhouse. Maybe in a couple years…
As for my subject matter, that is truly from the heart as well. I am going to paint Kanye West or my dog because that is what occupies my mind on a daily basis.
I’ve just asked you to pick apart your work, do you welcome this sort of analysis? And do you make an effort to fill your images with details to be analysed – or a “point” to be taken from them – or is it purely aesthetic? Do you feel any pressure to make a point?
As for analysis, I leave that to the viewer. I believe in “art for art’s sake”. I love when people pick it apart but really my goal is to make you feel, not think. Art that has a specific message or goal isn’t art, it’s propaganda.
Talk us through your process. How do you first decide on a subject of your work? Is it a conscious decision or inspired by something? If so, can you detail what these inspirations are?
This depends. Sometimes I set out with a goal (see above: I’m a hypocrite) and other times I just start painting. I don’t feel pressure to create anything, I just have to create. I see certain themes and motifs in my work… the female form, the sign of the cross, a desert, my face, harsh lines, blocks of color. Sometimes they come together to make something transcendent beyond the individual parts.
How do you work? Do you have a certain ritual or method? Do you work quickly or slowly? Do you have anywhere you like to work in?…
I mainly paint outdoors in my barn during the day. The dogs are in my yard. My parents come by to say hello. I work very quickly but I am trying to slow down. Oil paints take a while to dry so the medium forces me to slow up my generally break-neck speed.
Why choose this approach to expression as opposed to other forms of art?
I would say I am ADD when it comes to my process. As I’ve mentioned I’ve tried my hand at music, film, writing and acting. This is just the mode I am in right now. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts. It’s about the journey not the destination for me.
Interview by Caleb Carter