Q: How long have you been an artist? Please tell us a little about your chosen medium? Do you do any other creative arts?
A: I decided at a very young age that art would be a unifying constant throughout my life. As the style and execution of my work have changed and grown, I’ve pursued a career as an exhibiting painter, working with both national and international galleries.
My art is created primarily in acrylics. I find that, for my purposes, they allow me speed and
accuracy that I enjoy. Recently, I’ve been exploring oils, as well, and will be producing more work in oil paint in the future.
When I’m not painting, I occasionally also write poetry, though I rarely share that work.
Q: Have you been trained, and if so from what institution? Or are you self taught?
A: I received my Bachelor of the Fine Arts degree in Illustration and Art History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in 2007. In the subsequent years, I’ve continued to hone my skills and teach myself new ones, independently. My growth as an artist has also benefited from the example of many mentors and colleagues, for which I’m very grateful.
Q: What inspires your creations?
A: My art evolves from a process of visual and literary free association, often featuring totemic animal characters. I find myself inspired by European fables, folklore and mythology, using a symbolic vocabulary to expand on their narratives. These symbols often incorporate the stories and visual elements of modern childhood; mementos, toys and talismanic keepsakes. Stylistically, my paintings reference the Romantic and Symbolist art of the late nineteenth century.
Q: Was your family supportive of your artistic endeavors?
A: My family has been a steadfast support of my endeavors since I first discovered art. I had the great benefit of being raised by parents who believed in the arts as a fundamental necessity to a well-rounded human being, and introduced me to a wealth of cultural heritage that has been an ongoing source of inspiration.
Q: Is there someone special who has encouraged your work and your path as an artist, if yes tell us about this person and how they have influenced your path as an artist?
A: Throughout the years, I’ve been encouraged to stay the course by several people, but none more so than my family. I doubt I ever would’ve made it this far without them.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams or future goals, where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
A: As my career continues to evolve, I aim to establish myself as an internationally exhibiting artist, through strong working relationships with my fellow artists and illustrators, as well as gallerists and clients. Over the course of the next decade, I’ll be producing a handful of distinct, concept and narrative-driven series of personal work, for which I’m currently in the process of outlining exhibition and publication proposals.
Q: If you could do any project with full funding what would it be?
A: There is a grand-scale project I’ve long considered, which I’ve titled “The Golden Carousel”. If given full funding, I would create a body of painted and sculpted artwork inspired by classical equestrian art, incorporating mythic and historic riders and a menagerie of endangered and cryptozoological animals, gathered together in a vast, antique carousel.
Carousels have fascinated me since childhood and offer a beautiful unifying theme to explore the wild race of evolution and our relationship towards the animal kingdom. Riders move forever forward, on animals frozen in place, and the illusion of that momentum echoes our understanding that all life-forms must continuously adapt, evolve, and proliferate, even as their environment and opposing species evolve alongside them. The project would span twenty-one paintings, an artbook, and a custom, fully functioning carousel for viewers to enjoy, featuring sculpted animals drawn from the individual images.
Q: If you could meet any artist who is no longer living, who would it be and why?
A: Given the opportunity, I would like to spend a week visiting with and studying under Alphonse Mucha, during the time in which he was producing his greatest series of paintings, the Slav Epic. While often remembered for his work as an illustrator, it was in this series that Mucha turned his love of composition, elegance and style to another, deeper purpose; the love of his culture and heritage, as it was shaped by history, mythology and environment.
Q: Tell us your thoughts on the environment and preservation, there are many problems now for the natural environment, endangered species, global climate changes, what concerns you the most and why? As an artist do you feel there is anything you can do?
A: What concerns me most are the mass extinctions we are now facing and will no doubt see increase during my lifetime. Biodiversity is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our survival, mentally, emotionally and physically. While it’s true that species have risen and fallen throughout our world’s history, humanity is the first to engineer a culture that deliberately harms other species to satisfy lifestyle appetites that can never be sated. My hope is that my work can in some small part help to change our relationship towards our fellow animals, by building a culture that values life over sterile comfort and wealth.
Q: Do you have any conservation projects currently in progress?
A: Each year I make a commitment to devote several paintings to animals near extinction or recently extinct, in partnership with galleries where proceeds from selected exhibits are donated to conservation efforts.