Q: Tell us about your painting style and what first sparked an interest in this medium.
A: I paint in oils on gessoed board. I learned to paint digitally before touching oil paint and always wanted to capture that effect on a canvas with paint. My painting style is really a result of my surroundings and limitations. I’m a big guy painting in a small room with big brushes and not a lot of finesse! I constantly make mistakes, knock over my paintings, scratch things, etc… I eventually learned to just work it into my natural style, and I generally paint quite large which gives a lot more leeway for this.
Q: Do you use any other special techniques?
A: My painting is often very similar to my drawing. I work thin and transparently for a large part of the process, gradually going to thicker impasto towards the end.
Q: Do you have any favorite brands or materials and if so why?
A: I really like Rembrandt paints. I don’t use any turpentine and only paint with walnut oil in place as a medium. My brushes are usually inexpensive brushes from the local art store and my palette is a white table with glass on top. I paint on a white canvas so the colors match and always paint in natural day light.
Q: Do you have a favorite theme?
A: My favorite theme is people and mostly stick to the people most close to me in my life (family). The great majority of my work features my wife and daughter with the paintings being largely autobiographical. I feel that by working with people I know so well, the work takes on automatic meaning and honesty.
Q: What inspires your creations?
A: I want to put something beautiful and honest in a frame that energizes people. I also have a real appreciation and connection to the history of oil painting and love the challenge of finding a new way to speak with this centuries old medium.
Q: Do you paint from life, have a favorite muse, or do you prefer to use a photograph as a visual reference, or work from your imagination alone?
A: All of the above. For the poses and effects where I can’t capture it from a live model I will use photography which is quite common in my current body of work. If I have the luxury of working with a model, I always enjoy this. The method of work really depends on what m after and what is available to me. I’m also always inventing, interpreting and deviating from any reference whether life or photograph.
Q: What challenges do you have when you’re creating, and what makes you the happiest when you’re bringing a new project to fruition?
A: My biggest challenge is making a painting that I feel will be understood and appreciated by others. I really like the challenge of taking figurative work and creating something identifiable that transcends the identity of the subject in the work. What brings me the most joy is if I feel I have created something fresh and pushing past my usual conventions and techniques.
Q: Were you formally trained or are you self taught?
A: I’m definitely formally trained. I studied at the Watts Atelier in San Diego, with an amazing illustrator named Mark Westermoe and a painter in Boston named Dennis Cheaney. I also received my MFA in painting in 2014 which gave me the opportunity to mentor with painters like Steven Assael, Emily Eveleth, Raul Gonazlez III and Damon Lehrer. I’ve had to digest all that information and put into my own voice, but I consider my path to be heavily trained from all these different artists I have had the privlige to study under.
Q: Are there historic artists who influenced your style?
A: Definitely Sargent is the big one. I’ve been obsessed with John Singer Sargent’s painting style for years. I was very influenced by the large scale religious style painting from artists like Ruebens and the work of Degas.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams or future goals, how would you like to be remembered?
A: I hope to be remembered as having followed my own path, keeping the appreciation and study of the craft first and doing what brings me joy and passing it on to others. I want to continue to evolve and grow my practice and awareness of my work. I hope this leads to interesting experiences and friendships.
Q: What advice do you have for artists who are seeking to follow a creative path as a career?
A: Keep the craft and practice first. Focus on deep study and doing great work and the career will open up to you. Develop a solid appreciation for and understanding of the fundamentals which will give you the ability to evolve and try new things.
Q: Is there someone special who has encouraged your work and your path as an artist?
A: There have been many. Emily Eveleth was the right person at the right time to show me how to translate random skills into a personal statement. Mark Westermoe was a treasure trove of knowledge he generously passed on to me and offered great encouragement. Jeff Watts showed me the value of hard work and the results achieved when that is put in.
Q: If you had full funding to do any project what would it be and why?
A: This is an easy one! I would do large scale figurative paintings from life. I simply don’t have the budget or space for this work, and it is unclear where it would fit practically into my gallery work BUT… I would love to have the resources and time to make this happen!