Birds are arguably the most beautiful and accessible animal on earth. Wherever we are living, so are birds, surviving and thriving alongside us. Many times they leverage us as much as we benefit from them. As I spend my own time interacting with birds and learning from them, I feel compelled to tell the stories of those experiences and how they relate to our own. They can be both my power animal and a metaphor for our own shared human experiences.
Creating a gateway in my work for my soul to pass through and heal. In 2020, via a grant for art career mentorship, I was connected with Pakistani-American artist Humaira Abid. Through her guidance I began a journey of searching within to gain an understanding of my mostly transient life; up to that point I had moved 22 times in my 50 years. Why didn't I have permanence anywhere in my world? Is it in my own nature to keep moving around, or am I searching without a proper lens to see the results, thus, never satisfied? In January 2021, just days after we saw our nation attacked from within, my father called to tell me that my younger brother, a gifted musician, had passed away in his sleep from a fentanyl overdose. I was devastated to see him lose his fight with his own demons. He'd fought them wildly and bravely for as long as he could, given his own limited tools and lack of mentorship. In the past I would always bare some of the guilt from his actions. His passing could have set me back to square one of my own development had it not been for me having momentum in the right direction at the time. These works produced in 2021 are what I consider transitional pieces. I am addressing both personal and yet common emotions that we all share. I also wanted to let my imagination grow in the work, and to be less didactic, offering perhaps a new entry point for others to partake in the discussion with me. My intention with these works is to both exorcise the past, as well as power up for the future. Again, these works serve as a gateway for my soul to pass through and heal.
2021 was a tumultuous year, not just for America but for the world at large. The symbol of our nation, the bald eagle, got taken down to the depths in 2020 and didn't seem to come up for air in 2021. The true nature of our country was on display as the pandemic, an attempted insurrection, and numerous man-made disasters all stole the headlines of the year. Painting about these things did not make them go away. It merely served to relieve the pressure.
Seeing a bird from below as it flies, silhouetted against the sky above, is a memorable impression that we adapt to at a very young age. In an attempt to reconnect us with this frequently occurring moment in nature, I've created these paintings as a way to blend our own lives with that of the birds via metaphoric and lyrical representations of shared experiences.
These paintings celebrate diversity by posing a variety of owl species in close proximity to each other on the same canvas, as if in audience of the world outside of their own. The predominate color of the series draws from the indigo hues of late dusk and early dawn when owls are most active.
This series of paintings were inspired by my visits to the town of Marblemount, Washington during the annual bald eagle migration in January. The cold, blustery, and foggy landscape of winter on the upper Skagit River silhouettes the trees and birds in a photographic manner in these works.
When you compare male chickens (roosters) to human men, there are a lot of similarities. They exercise chivalry towards females with the intent on scoring their affections. They keep an eye out for arial attacks from eagles and hawks, and they will fend off ground attacks from coyotes willingly to the death. These feathered lizards are truly hard, despite their silly appearances.
Since 2018 I have been working full time in my Day Creek studio, and in between the various series I've painted, these standalone pieces stood out to me as also interesting and collectible.
My studio days in Seattle were more limited due to maintaining a design job while training for trail running. I was a volunteer in the arts during this time, but more of a fan than maker. It's a break from full time studio work that I am glad I took. The small number of works from this time period vary in concept and content from painting to painting.
Visual and performing arts enhance the cultural diversity and awareness of a community. The arts increase a communities chances that they'll be inclusive and healthier. Children who have participated in art during their developing years, have a better chance at succeeding as contributing citizens. By default, art develops the mental capacities for curiosity and problem solving. So, in addition to making the world a more beautiful place through paintings, plays, songs, and movies, art also makes us better people. This series of gold paintings served as gifts to donors during the Arts Fund annual fundraising campaigns. All pieces were painted with gold backgrounds to symbolize that giving to the community and supporting the arts is a treasure. It's like gold.
Bremerton was where I got my start in the art world. Prior to opening my own gallery in town representing myself and other artists of the area, I was building up my network via creating the Bremerton Art News, which brought together a variety of art practices and helped market the downtown arts district. My focus at the time was depicting starlings as stand-ins for humanity. This is also when the Eternal Counting series was painted during the Iraq war.
Ballard was where I had my first post-collegiate studio. It was here that I discovered my love for birds in my art and began to focus on them solely while drawing and painting.