You mention that this show is going to be much different from previous shows by you having had taken a new direction of sorts. Can you elaborate some on this?
In past work I concentrated on Man vs. Nature conflicts, politics, social issues and the worries that my children will be inheriting this mess. But I've been fascinated by the cycle of life lately, I don't know, maybe I feel that I'm getting older and getting closer to death while my kids are just starting out their lives.
This body of work is trying to capture some of those feelings, the idea of living your life, having all sorts of adventures and stories, then aging and the inevitability of death looming on the horizon. It's universal, it is repeated everyday, and if you look at any lifeform, you have birth, life, reproduction, death, then the cycle comes around again, and it's been going on on Earth for billions of years. As humans I think we always believe we're living in such an important time in history. In reality we are just a little speck on the timeline.
I always think that my grandchildren will know me, my great grandchildren might kinda know me, but after that my wife and I and even our kids will start to fade away in people's minds. One thousand years from now (if humans have not destroyed the planet) will our country and our times be remembered at all? Surprisingly, I'm comfortable with all of this. It's just the cycle of life. It fascinates me and I'm working on paintings that relate to it.
How has had being a dad affected your work?
It has been one of the best things in my life, and I cannot imagine how I'd be without them. I don't know exactly how it changed my work, I think having kids has made me understand more of how the world works. I understand nature in ways I didn't before kids. I don't know, I'm sure it's made an impact on my work. Looking back I see a big difference in my art post August 2005, that's for sure.
Alot of artists I know don't want kids, and that's cool, they want to keep their lifestyle the same, have less responsibilities, I respect that. And it is easier for sure. But I DO think any stable couple who is the slightest bit interested in having kids should go for it. And don't wuss out, have two kids if you can!
Besides working on this show, what have you been up to?
Eating more than I should. I tend to snack a lot when I'm working on a show. It is terrible. I am eating Chinese leftovers as I type this.
You mentioned this being one of your last solo shows for awhile. After this show, what you have planned?
I just need to take a break at this point. I'm going to continue painting, I might try out oil painting for a while, but I want to take it slowly and not have the pressure of a show on my shoulders. I have had too many shows in a row the past two years, haven't had a chance to catch my breath. So I don't have anything planned at all. Going to jump into doing more prints, maybe curate some shows and maybe teach a class or two if anyone will hire me. My future is uncertain and it's kinda scary, but I think it's what I need at this point.
Are you excited about the World Cup at all?
No, I don't even know who's playing. I follow baseball, though the past two years I haven't watched much.
What was the major technical shift from previous works if any?
When I started painting at 14 I thought the pinnacle of art making was the ability to paint things as realistically as possible, and that's what I worked on for a few years. As I learned more about art history I realized there was so much more to art than being able to render well.
So I tried a bunch of things over the years, from traditional painting to embarrassingly failed attempts at video installations and performance art pieces! It took a while but I realized my strengths were in making visual art, and more importantly, that's what I had the most passion for. In the last ten years I've concentrated heavily on painting, but felt like being a "painter" was too limiting. I was finding used pieces of wood, scratch into my surface, create texture, add collage elements, spraypaint on it; this time I am keeping the pieces really clean and pristine, making each piece precious in a way. I think for this show I wanted to visit my early roots of trying to render forms realistically. I am realizing I am a painter and for the first time embracing it. Aint nuthin' wrong with being a painter!
What's an average daily routine for you these days?
I am in show mode right now, so my schedule is all fucked up. I have been staying up late to paint in the garage, sleep, and then work all day at my studio which is a few miles from where we live. Usually though I get up with my wife and the kids and help with breakfast and getting everyone ready. Then I work for 8 hours or so and come home- dinner, kids baths, pajamas, etc. Pretty normal "dad" schedule. I actually crave that "dad" schedule part about having weekends off, and I'm going to try to do that when I get back from NYC! Yeah! Gonna take the kidlets to feed the ducks at the park!