Artist Statement  My painting practice revolves around intimacy: its importance, the common fear of it, where it hides within our interactions, and what it can feel like. By looking back at moments from my life as well as reacting to current events around me, I translate and annotate my personal experiences with a combination of paint, text, and odd materials, highlighting their most emotional aspects.

 

Materiality is important to me. When I work I want to be fully immersed in making. This is why I often work on a larger scale and use materials that are messy or work against me. Fabrics resistance to fold the way I want it to, the entropic behavior of glitter, and the quick dry time of spackle are all things that bind me into my practice and leave me little room for distraction. The subjects of my work are always objects or ideas that feel important to me like personal memento moris, sentimental objects, and familial traditions. They are things that I want to give proper time to and fully feel. This practice acts as a sort of defense mechanism against the way time moves and the cultural fear of honest intimacy.

 

American culture is fast-paced. It stops for no one, valuing productivity and capital gain, often leaving marginalized individuals in the dust and making creative practices more and more inaccessible. In my life, this struggle for time presents itself in the impossible attempt to balance school, work, artistic, social, and personal time as well as in the concept of “queer time”, which refernces the way time quickly marches forward, leaving little room for queer folks to process and adapt their identity. In my artistic practice, I try to find small ways to resist the way we, as a whole, consider time, and use material and image to find how I can fit into it and accept its passing. Some of these acts involve valuing the process of creating over the product, sitting inside of overwhelming emotions and allowing myself the opportunity to fully feel them out, and celebrating moments of small joy and connection through image and written narrative. When I am making, it is a reclaiming of time, taking it by the reins and spending it in a way that is meaningful to me and reflecting on what I think is important about being alive: being present and deeply feeling. Making is a form of intimacy that is comfortable to me. It is a way for me to connect and express love, something that I find difficult to do due to my upbringing, having a queer identity, and the ingestion of the greater, general culture.

 

Through vignettes of imagery and narrative that’s embedded, metaphorically and literally, in the paintings, the viewer is able to physically see the outpour of emotion or recollection coming from the maker. While the subject of the work is often objects, due to the “sculpting” of different materials and paint I often employ on the canvas, the paintings themselves usually take on a sort of object-ness, acting as a vessel that contains the stories and experiences I am referencing. They become an archive or act as documentation of my thoughts, feelings, and interactions. For example, my painting Potluck depicts an image of a checkered tablecloth that remains 2D until it reaches the bottom right corner of the piece where the tablecloth-patterned canvas then spills over the side and falls towards the floor, wrinkled and folded over itself. Painted then, on top of the tablecloth, are images of various foods and drinks accompanied by text briefly narrating a memory associated with each item. This collection of images and written connotations, as well as the fact that the painted tablecloth breaks out of the canvas and becomes something tangible, contributes to the read that the painting acts as an object or a container. Something that holds onto all the moments of grief, joy, and all of the heavy feelings that come with being a growing, changing, and loving person.