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Classic American Car Series
Americans’ love affair with the automobile began as soon as the first model rolled off the assembly line. However, most consider the golden age of the automobile to be in the 1950’s culminating with their excessive tailfins and chrome. During this time it seemed that new models were introduced each year that were bigger and bolder than the year before. Times were good and gas was cheap. Truth-in-advertising was still years away.
In this series, I am interested in capturing an era, a unique period in U.S. history. The automobile was many different things to many different people. These classic cars are long gone, all but a forgotten memory.
For over 30 years I have been fascinated with the 1950’s and its history, especially the automobile and its influence and reflection of the times. Over the years I have attended many cars shows and photographed these beautiful behemoths I so identify with. However, it is only recently that I am now making use of these photos and using them as reference materials in my large scale paintings. This series of classic American automobiles are all oil on canvas.
Double Vision Series
In this series, I explore what happens when the printing of an image is “off-registration”. The resulting error occurs as a blurry image as each of the different color ink is printed slightly “off-registration”. This is most commonly seen in the printing of cheap paper on a high speed press run, such as in the printing of the Sunday comics. While in the printing world this is undesirable, I whole heartily embrace it.
In each canvas I have chosen an icon American image and painted it as if it were printed “off-registration”. In addition, I have added other iconic American images to create a compelling composition. All paintings are painted in oil on canvas.
American Icon Series
I see myself as a story teller, a silent witness to the world around me. For me, it has always been about the image, not necessarily what I have seen, but what I have perceived beyond the facade. I am interested in exploring popular American cultural stereotypes, icons, images, slogans, advertisements, and the exploitation of the general public by the mass media. Over time, these iconic images take on a meaning all their own.
In each of my paintings I try to make use of these associated meanings as well as take them out of context and combined them with many other disparate images as a way to create new meanings. I also distort the perspective, play with the figure/ground relationship, create multiple layers, and use super saturated and vibrant colors, all in an effort to not only cause the viewer to reflect on what these icons in the past meant to them, but also what they may mean to them now. I like to create narrative works of art which provokes the viewer to question their beliefs and give them an opportunity to draw their own conclusions/interpretations of my paintings based on their experiences.
Since all of these paintings are very large, I use a computer to enlarge and alter my images. I then transfer these images to the canvas by way of tracing paper and compose the rest by hand. I paint in oils and work on only one canvas at a time.
On Stage Series
This is a continuation of my “Childhood Memories” series where I explore the space within the picture frame. “Childhood Memories” took place in rooms. With the “On Stage” series I make use of many of the same elements from “Childhood Memories”, but instead of using the room as a setting for the painting, I use a stage. And while the action may take place on the stage, I sometime blend the inside with the outside. This may cause the viewer to ask if they are on the outside looking in, on the inside looking out, or actually on the stage. Characteristics in common with each painting are usually a flat panel, a curtain off to one side and a highly distorted perspective angle with multiple layers of unrelated images. This use of disparate images hopefully will cause the viewer to create their own relevant meaning. All paintings are done in oil on canvas.
I have many file folders (not digital) filled with images I have collected over the years. Each folder contains related items, such as: old soda signs, doll faces or U.S. landmarks, etc. When I begin a new painting I start with a central theme then look through the various folders for images which may support my idea. Finding the appropriate images and arranging them in an interesting composition is the hardest part of making a painting.
In this series I make use of the ubiquitous female pin-up model from the 1950’s. With one hand held up to her head this classic pose exudes sexuality and feminine mystic. My challenge was how to use this iconic symbol and move beyond its seemingly sexual overtones. In each of the paintings in this series I made different use of how I revealed the pin-up model.
I sort through hundreds of images until I find one in which I will use to start a painting. In this case it was the pin-up girl. The challenge was then to find other related images to complete the composition. All these paintings are oil on canvas. I love the process of oil painting; the mixing of the colors.
I have always been interested in combining different mediums into a single work. Many of the works in this series I have combined such dissimilar materials as: waterslide decals, photo-transfer heat stencils, old photographs and encaustic with oil and acrylic paint. Each technique presents new challenges which I must research with many different tests until I've achieved the results I am looking for. Sometimes, results are not satisfactory, but may be used to solve future problems.
Each picture presented a different obstacle. Some are straight oil on canvas, others are large photographs on wood with acrylic resin and encaustic. Many images that I use are found in old magazines and advertising layouts. I enlarge and manipulate them on the computer then transfer them to the canvas or board. Some, like the Gerber Baby picture, is hand drawn in China markers. I love exploring new mediums and their use in combination with traditional mediums such as oil painting.
Childhood Memories Series
I am interested in exploring popular U.S. cultural stereotypes, icons and the exploitation of the general public by the mass media. I am especially disturbed by the perpetuating myth of the “All American Family” in their perfect home, surrounded by a white picket fence and a steamy hot apple pie cooling on the window sill. Our spouse is magnanimous and our three children are obedient and respectful and have lettered on the high school sports team.
Lies, lies, and more lies. It’s not only advertisers who shame us and make us feel guilty if we don’t fit the stereotypical family, it happens in grade school, in our place of worship, at work, and in the government. I believe we have become a culture of hypocrisy where “image” is more important than the truth.
“Childhood Memories” is the story of my life. It is my attempt to make order out of chaos in my world and has been a poignant theme in my work for over 25 years.
At first glance the imagery appears fun and whimsical. Colors are bright and the mood is cheery. However, upon closer observation a more disturbing reality begins to become evident. Underlying issues of abuse, rape, incest, and abandonment begin to immerge from one painting to the next.
A big influence in my life and art has been the surrealist movement. The works of Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte, and Salvador Dalí have been pivotal.
I try to pay particular attention to my inner voice, feelings and dreams and then record them daily in my sketch book. Sometime I draw these as pictures, other times as written text. Then at some later date I use these sketch book pages as springboards for composing a new painting. I may rough in some ideas, but generally I work directly on the canvas from out of my head, paying particular attention to my inner voice as I go and allowing the painting to develop before me. This special moment is what I call "In the Groove". It's nice when it happens because the painting flows effortlessly out from me. In addition, I love the process of oil painting; the mixing of the colors.
Paint by Number Series
For me it has always been about the image, not necessarily what I have seen, but what I have perceived beyond the facade. In this series of large scale paintings I have been exploring the portrait genre, not as a photographic-like rendering, but rather as an expression of their inner being. To this end, I utilize specific colors, shapes, and textures to help reinforce this persona. Each image has an historical significance attached to it which I have attempted to manifest in the works thereby adding a further level of complexity to each piece.
For instance, in the upper left hand corner of the Kennedy painting is a small, barely discernable film date; taken one film frame before he was assassinated. In addition, it is painted slightly out-of-focus and in sepia tone. It is no coincidence that I chose wild and unorthodox colors on the Prince Charles painting, repeating the shapes found in the contours of his hair with those shapes constructing his face. There are no smooth edges - Charles is a man in turmoil. Then there are the hooded snake-like eyes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and reptilian-like skin and hat. He was a former high ranking official of the KGB, and now our Ally? Can he really be trusted?
I collect old "Paint by Numbers" paintings from the late 1960's. I study how they created shape and form by reducing colors to basic color planes. With this series I have taken photographs of recognizable people and broke down the shading in their face to its most basic colors. In addition, I also tried to paint their image in colors or a style which would represent their character. On pictures with black lines on, I used squeezed tube paint to create a thick 3-D line. Each of the portraits is an original oil painting, which is to say, was created by me rather than a larger version of an old "Paint by Numbers" picture.