Artist Statement - Painted Works 2010-16
The principal subject matter of the majority of my paintings from the past few years is New York City, my home and constant muse. NYC is so iconic and is often depicted in works of art, so the challenge for me was to show a side of it that was slightly off the beaten path. I felt this was important since I will be representing my city to the wider world through my work. I am someone who knows this city fairly well and can access a more personal experience of it to draw upon. It’s a story that’s been told so many times, an aspiring creative moves to the big city and gets lost in its spell…but I truly feel privileged to live here each day. It isn’t always an easy place to be, but it has fed, taught and inspired me so much that I wanted to capture my affection for it in these works.
The Process –
My main intention with much of my painted work from 2010-16, besides paying homage to my wonderful New York, was to counter my tendency to overthink a painting by severing the lifeline of over-rendering. Born out of an observation at an early age that many people respond positively to a work that is highly photo-realistic, I developed an obsessive need to capture this with my art to the point where it became a deterrent to pure creative expression. I needed to break free from this. I realized that it was no longer necessary to prove my rendering ability with every piece. While I am proud of my technical ability, there didn’t seem anything exciting about displaying technique just for the sake of it. And so I entered unchartered territory. I aimed to have fun with these; to try new things, experiment with light, color and shape to create something more expressive and alive; to capture some of the amazing energy of this unique and vibrant city. The chosen color palette is one that skews otherworldly while still retaining roots in reality.
Many of my paintings were completed in one sitting, some were labored on a bit after the fact. I wanted them to be loose and painterly. The reference photos already exist, I was very consciously creating paintings here and merely using the photo as a jumping off point. With the photos themselves, some locations I chose because of their personal hold on me; a street I walk down often, a building used in an album cover I love, a home used as a location for one of my favorite films, my own apartment building…but many I chose in the moment because they hit me organically. Some are recognizable locations, like Lincoln Center, most are not.
Nocturnal scenes hold a particular interest for me, as they represent some of my favorite interactions with this city. There is a certain kind of intimacy you can only experience when the streets are less crowded and flooded with artificial light. The most mundane scene is suddenly transformed into this luminescent, mysterious space. I aim to capture this sense of personal interaction with the city. Some of the works have figures, some merely hint at human existence by focusing on lighted windows of buildings. I am probably a bit voyeuristic with this, but I find myself looking up at architecture all the time and wondering, who lives here? What things has this edifice seen over the past 100 or so years? The challenge for me is not only capturing this air of mystery in these scenes but also pushing the kind of luminescence that transforms the mundane into the magical. All these factors continue to drive me towards representing these nocturnal moments from my adventures around the city.