What’s your preferred medium?
Acrylic on canvas.
How do you approach/start a painting?
Usually I begin with color. I select a specific palette, most often based on something i’ve seen…a movie still, a j crew catalog, etc, and just begin with abstract mark making. This becomes my underpainting. The next layers of geometric forms and patterns are in response to the abstract marks and color washes. I typically have a loose idea of where I want to begin, but the end result is always a surprise to me. So, I said usually at the beginning of this question. That’s because I’m currently working on a new painting series that is beginning with form first. I’m being more methodical by making small studies on paper before gong to the canvas. This is a new approach for me.
What inspired this particular painting?
I had a series of paintings prior to this that were starting to feel formulaic. So I challenged myself to primarily use white in a painting and to experiment with some different motifs (such as the harder geometric lines.). The colors were inspired by a recent trip to the caribbean and the patterns on the coral I collected there. In my brain, my paintings are windows into a weird dreamlike biosphere, so I always want there to be a feeling of pulsation and organic growth or reproduction. To me, the blue dots in this painting are like an organism, dividing and multiplying, and beginning to envelop the rest of the space.
Why are you so into dots? What do you think about when you’re “dotting”?
Haha. I love this question. I have no answer. It’s something I started doing in college and I’ve never stopped. It’s only increased in obsessiveness and repetition. The repetition gets very meditative, so I’m either deep in thought or totally zoned out, not thinking anything… Through a project at work (I actually work at an art museum) I’ve learned about several contemporary artists whose art making is considered a spiritual practice through ritual or repetitive mark making. Shirazeh Houshiary, Ding Yi, Agnes Martin (deceased) etc. Their art and intent is certainly very different than mine, but I appreciate the parallels between their repetitive and meditative art making and my own. I relate to the sentiment of art as a spiritual practice.
Do you listen to music while painting? If so, what’s on your playlist?
I do! I switch it up all the time. The Radio Department, Beirut, classic Death Cab for Cutie, New Order (80s new wave in general), 90s R&B, Taylor Swift…
I also listen to podcasts. My favorite being the back catalog of The Ricky Gervais podcasts. I’ve had a long-term obsession with Karl Pilkington. Other Karl-fans might recognize that most of my paintings have titles based on something said by Karl Pilkington.
Who is your favorite living contemporary artist?
Yikes. So many. Right now: Kehinde Wiley.