This new block of work from 2014-2015, collectively titled VISCERAL LOVE, picks
up roughly where I left off, in November 2013, and is, in my opinion the best stuff I have ever done. It is a deeper,
more specific exploration of the themes I started to examine in large format in 2013.
I am drawing from my vast resource of imaginary characters, figures, monsters and text, moving freely on multiple
levels and pulling it all together into a broad epic. It is the sum total of a lifetime of "intelligence gathering"-
drawing from life and the mind since I was old enough hold a crayon. I remember the first word I ever wrote, "LOVE",
unknowingly of course, scrawled onto a paper plate. I still have most of my childhood drawings, and the thread continues
as I draw essentially the same things I was drawing then.
Many new pieces
have more than one title. The title part has taken on a life of its own, and is an ongoing work in progress. I've
been having a lot of fun playing with words and visual puns, sometimes editing and re-editing titles fifteen times or more.
My love affair with acrylics continues unabated. I am totally at one with the medium.
When in "Full Metal Jacket" creative mode, I'm able to paint and change things as fast as I can think, thanks to
acrylics. In spite of their poor lightfastness rating, I have expanded the use of florescent pigments, because they
can most closely replicate the feel of fire, the sun and the vivid coloration of some tropical fauna.
The canvases are sized directly onto the walls, and I frequently find myself painting right up
to the stapled edges, running out of space and then needing to add canvas. But this terribly inefficent process keeps
my picture field fluie right up to the very end, when I call the piece "done". I figured out a way to edge
line such canvases by using large, heavy glass panes as glue weights, ensuring a uniform bond between both surfaces
with acrylic matt medium.
The studio, at 2200 square feet, with
plenty of overhead thinking space (23 feet), has enabled me to work on as many as 40 large paintings simultaneously, in a
maze of moving dividers. This is the way I have always wanted to work, because the "answer" to one piece often
comes to me while working on another and I see it in the corner of my eye. It could be just that right color, shape
or word that is the missing keystone for a painting. Getting to that point when you find that critical missing element
can take up to a decade. A painting can lay fallow for years before I have the answer for it. The decision- making,
not the physical execution, is what takes forever.
inspiration for the work:
Bioluminsece, especially in creatures living in the perpetual night of the deep ocean
Camouflage, mimicry and shape-shifting in nature, especially in cephalopods
By beloved cats
The psychology of manipulation and predation, and how it is manifested or covered up by facial
Ray Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien
The Asian Girl, and the Love of the Asian Girl
Warning coloration and ornamentation in venomous animals
My humorous outlook
The music of Yngwie Malsteem
The beauty of life,
and how life on Earth is at the same time fragile and unstoppable
My sense of outrage has always been intrinsic to my oeuvre. In this new series anger takes center stage.
It is my firewood, my fuel rods, and I use it to express, in livid color, a controlled madness.
Other source material:
of things from childhood
American TV adverstising, and how
it repeatedly kicks viewers between the eyes, rendering them effectively brain dead over time
Fragments of dialogue with friends that sometimes become visual concepts for paintings
The absurdity of the art world
criminal over-prescription of antidepressants by the multi-billion dollar psychopharmacology juggernaut. I can personally
attest to that, because Zyprexa and Wellbutrin nearly killed me. Luckily, after existing in a zombie-like
state on AD's for almost 10 years I had the personal strenght to stop taking the shit forever, and to tell the MD
to fuck himself. Ironically, I am the happiest man alive ever since. We now live in a society where
you're medicated for being a kid.
A special shout out goes to all those
in recent memory who put me down. THANK YOU. That only galvanized me to work twice as hard.
I thank my friends for their steadfast support through good and bad.
I thank the School of Visual Arts for giving me the opportunity to teach drawing and painting there for the
last 22 years. Teaching has saved my life on so many levels. For me, anyway, if you are going to be an artist,
there is no better job on Earth than to be an art teacher, sharing what I have discovered on my own about life and creativity
with people who really appreciate it.
I thank Laura Hanifin for
her great photo documentation of the studio, and Robert Puglisi, who has been shooting my work since 1998, and who did the
final roundup. Back in the 1990's it was just slides, and I have piles of them collecting dust in boxes.
The building where I have lived and worked since 2011, and which has been instrumental in my
creative Cambrian Explosion, has been sold recently and it is time to pack the place up. A special thank you goes out
to the kind owners whose patience and understanding over the years has allowed me to have an incredible creative run
Now it is time for bigger and better things for me.
Thank you for looking at the site.