January 2016 Interview: Mark Making – Fire House Art Center

In January 2016 I had the opportunity to share space in an exhibition titled Mark Making, at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont, CO As part of the exhibition, participants in the show were interviewed for the Firehouse Gallery Guide. Below is the interview that gives some insight into my work.


1.     Why do you think the act of mark making is so important to you as a means of expression?
Mark making is important as a means of of expression for me primarily because it is the way that I can express the unseen. There is much in the phenomenal world that we sense, however, it is beyond words. For me, it is the action of my body and mind working together to interpret that “sense”. Mark making is primal. We are living at a time that is very far removed from basic unmediated communication – everything can be and often is mediated. I choose to draw because it is one of the least interrupted (between material and maker) approaches in art practice possible.  

2.     How did you come about using the techniques/mediums you use to produce your art?

This, too, relates directly with the above response. Regarding medium I am interested in reducing my material to its most simple and direct use. Graphite, colored pencil, crayon, etc. a color mixed with a dry medium that I move and can control to a certain extent leaves the “sense” in the work without “baggage”, if you will. I chose that material because I felt that it would be honest. That at times it could speak for itself and that its honesty would betray the idiosyncrasies of my actions when I was drawing. My technique came about after years of working with the grid and, again, being interested in distilling what I was doing to an essence. I am interested in the relationship between mind, body and our notions of perfection… the myth and/or reality of perfection. For now the material I use helps me to interpret that.   

3.     What inspires/motivates you to create art?
Like many, I started very young as a maker. By the time I was 12 I decided this was my life – by the time I was 16 I was studying at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. So I was disciplined at a very young age. I consider the discipline of my practice a container for inspiration and motivation. At the same time I am also inspired/motivated by the energy of the world in which I live, particularly the landscape of the western U.S., I am greatly inspired by other makers work; both those that I spend time with and those who are part of the historic lineage of painting and drawing – their writing and thinking in particular.   

4.     Describe your process…intuition? sketching? daily rituals? materials?

My process: the ideal is a six hour stretch in the studio without interruption. No sound in the space. No phone, computer etc. I listen to thoughts that push to the surface for attention – those are usually responsible for the next work that will be done. The work I make comes out of a contemplative tradition. It chronicles my movement and thoughts. At times meta cognitive – at other times just documentation of my existence at that moment. My approach, I hope, is anonymous enough, ego-less enough, that it creates a universal existence. Meaning those who wish to connect with the work are able to with little effort because they feel themselves in the work. I do see the work complete in my mind before I start it.  


5.     In what ways do you desire your work to relate to the viewer? On a specific emotional level? Open to interpretation? etc.
We (the universal) are living at a fast, chaotic time.  Marina Abramovic has said that at  this time which is moving faster and faster – it is important that we make work that is slower and slower.  I believe this to be sage advice. To slow or to stop the viewers mind for only a few moments is what I would hope could occur with this work. To “look where you live”, to find some type of peace in the extreme chaos in which we are finding ourselves – and hope that that inspires one to do something to continue in and to perpetuate that feeling. At the same time this work comes out of a very formalist late Modern tradition that I admire greatly – I do not want the aesthetic qualities of the work to be ignored or missed. They are a constant consideration in my work.   

6.     How did you develop your way of seeing and creating art? By this I mean how you use the reversing of perception of landscape from a formal aspect to an abstract one?

I see the landscape of the west as a flat plane. I see the horizon as perpetual. I trust in Eastern philosophies related to space. Shunyata, Ma, in particular, address a reality of how things manifest in our lives. I consider my work diagrams of these realities. Diagrams of breathing, being, making, manifesting and the astounding importance of the gaps between all of those. I think of the unseen as an abstraction. The works are maps of the unseen.