In my practice, I aim to explore my own isolationist and escapist tendencies and create fantastical environments through painting. My paintings are chaotic and sometimes unsettling horror vacui, with flat patterns and three-dimensional forms covering the entire surface. Vermicular forms and planar surfaces overlap and twist in and around forms in the foreground and background. My paintings usually begin with a series of loosely intentional marks or spots of pigment on a surface which acts as a designated skeleton for the overall composition. Use of aerosols create gradient effects without compromising the uniformity of the brush strokes. Coloured spots which seldom fade into each other create dimension and indicate pixilation within an organic structure as opposed to a synthetic one; an awareness of the parts which comprise perception clouding what sits behind it. This idea is essentially what makes abstraction a necessary in my work. An important part of my creative process is a manic drive to work for long periods in relative isolation, to the extent that the act of painting often reluctantly serves the purpose of reinforcing my own withdrawn escapist tendencies. My aim when creating environments is not to utilize fantastical themes as a matrix to communicate truth I perceive, but to (cynically) create an environment in which truth is indistinguishable from a grandiose idiosyncrasy - manic conflict which straddles the line between stingy self-interest and desire for irrationally holistic connection.
Recently, I have been to exploring a naive approach to handwriting, drawing, animation, music production, digital art, and public performance in greater detail. That I was able to create and transport such large quantities of work in my time at AUArts is due in no small part to the generosity of my family in lending their time, vehicles, and unconditional support. Thank you all so much.
Since finishing classes, I have worked on drawings and paintings as well as animations, performance, and music, most of which has not been released yet. I have also developed a phonetic script that can be used transcribe not just words, but ones own choice of pronunciation for each word (such as "the" as either "thuh" or "thee"). Space constraints have also compelled me to begin working on un-stretched canvas that can be stored easily. I am currently interested in ways the immediacy of horror aesthetics can play into a broader concept of hedonism reminiscent of the immediacy of graffiti, punk subculture, and psychedelic art.
In the script used in this drawing, short vowels are also written so groups of consonants are pronounced correctly. "Ndio" ("yes" in Swahili) would be spelled similarly to en-diyo so it is not confused with ne-diyo. The script could already transcribe most European languages, so innovating necessarily inspires research into languages I may never need. Though English spelling makes the script easier to write than read, reading is slowly getting easier.
At this point (around 3rd year) I had started to split off my largely repetitive practice in two, choosing to focus on mythical allegory and symbolism, and dimension and form separately. This was initially a naive, having-my-cake-and-eating-it-too way of ensuring I could experience my progress with different professors and classrooms unhindered by conflicting motivations, but it opened a window into thinking about splintering off of creative goals as meiosis, a recombining of influences that become more or less important as time goes on. The "meiosis" metaphor also allowed for a more resilient way of equating the escapist studio practice with a nebulous organism that must be kept on a leash as certainly as it must be fed everyday.
I painted this at a point when I felt a misguided need to essentially "prove" my own research (into Greek, Egyptian, and Norse mythology in this case) by creating a coded narrative using symbolic birds. In the end I feel it was the grandiosity and pattern-searching franticness that came through, an idea more relevant to my relationship to mythology than the coded statement I had initially intended. That was an important lesson on how art research often works.
An experiment in overlaying multiple perspectives of urban layouts.
Early 2019 Paintings
This selection of paintings represents a shift away from focus on linework and lyrical abstraction in favor of creating space and dimension. Paintings in this selection were made during periods of intense research on world mythology, Art Brut, outsider belief systems, and natural disasters while repressing intent to directly incorporate these ideas or imagery into my work. Learning to not attempt to directly reference my current obsessions was an exercise in mindfulness which proved more challenging than I had anticipated and was not entirely successful on that level, yet realizing ways consistent small choices came to emulate the tone of my research would inspire an in-depth exploration of written language later in the year through 2020.
A bit of an outlier, this painting was conceived while I was researching barnacle anatomy and thinking about how much I did not want to be in Calgary.
I bit of an outlier again, I enjoyed the shape of the bottom figure so much that I didn't want to get rid of the negative space.
Late 2019 Paintings
Throughout late 2019, I refined what I was doing earlier in the year by focusing on organic forms without hidden facial structures. At the same, I wanted to think about how I could destabilize and celebrate the concept of culture as a purely idiosyncratic feature without copying distinct cultural tropes.
The name was written on the canvas after I fished it out of the end-of-semester art dumpster, it soon became impossible to give it new title after mentally referring to it as Dorothy for so long.
Shapes in the background are marks designed to look like written language, I studied multiple endangered alphabets (on a purely aesthetic level) as practice. Compositionally I wanted to imitate arrangements of hieroglyphs, comic books, flags and Mesoamerican codices.
Looking again at written language and script, I chose to focus on the idea of propaganda as a destabilizing and celebratory facet of culture.