I hope you enjoy this page I have put together that showcases all of the major developments in my work over the past year. There is something for everyone, is what I have been told by quite a few early previewers. I take that as a compliment since I worked on these series with others in mind.
The wonderful thing to me is that I created this much work despite the ups and downs of 2021. Not all of this year's work has my normal elegant finish. Some of it is very raw, and I chose to leave it that way because it expressed exactly how I felt. There is admittedly some healing being done with this work and I felt I needed to also share that side of my practice.
To provide balance to those more personal works I chose to embark on two new and totally unrelated directions as well. The first was a nostalgic send up of popular athletic shoes and the moments in time that transcended brands. A second and very therapeutic series I started late in the summer focuses on the details of our natural world. A classic theme of mine is revisited, and this time instead of starlings, I depict introduced plant life.
This new work uncovers a secret world in the minds and souls of my birds. My normally fictitious avian world is brought into realtime focus as clues of contemporary human events related to wins and loses, struggles and successes begin to emerge from normally benign areas of my work. Technically this series blends my current bird style with elements reminiscent of my previous fROG style. In many cases, I was unwilling to cloak thoughts and numbers in subtle expression. To the contrary, this series has what can be described as painted artists notes in places where I would normally paint a wing, or a stomach. Since we feel so many of our emotions in our abdomen, I thought it fitting that this is where my stories would be told.
This series began with me walking around my little chicken farm with my head down, admittedly depressed from life's events. Days after learning about yet another critical loss in my life, I was in dire need of something fresh to focus on in my studio. That's when I saw this little often-overlooked flower with white spots that appeared to hover in the air around it. As I picked one to look closer at it, I saw a whole lifecycle of one little thing. I began to read about the plant and learn about its history and relationship to agricultural areas and man.
This path of inquiry felt similar to the one I had taken over 20 years ago as I began researching Eurasian starlings. Before I knew it, I was breathing deeply again, fully immersed in a new world. I was painting something full of life for no reason other than to learn about it in efforts to better understand it. All of this was with hopes that I would also sort some things out for myself in life. And the macro focus on something little was just the key I needed. It became a mantra for how I navigated the little moments of my own day. Moments that were tripping me up due to depression became moments of quickly slowing down as fast as possible; to let the moment be itself. These contemplative paintings serve that value to me, not unlike how one might meditate while gardening. And the results of this research and studio time are in my humble opinion, fantastic! Slowing down to enjoy the world around us.
With this series I was in search of new methods for storytelling with my work. These paintings eschew the sometimes minimal or simplistic designs I usually am drawn to and instead fill any and all voids with texture or text that supports the theme of the work. This approach helped me re-introduce techniques I enjoyed from the past, while updating them for my current tastes. It was also very fun to paint this series and I plan to do more, perhaps an Owls 3.0.
This nostalgic series aims to reframe historic moments in sports and pop culture where the performer's elevated their sponsor's brand to a new level of cultural relevance. Beyond the shoes, these paintings leave the historic stage nearly devoid of detail for us to refill in with our own memories of the moments and performers.
Each of these paintings have stories related to why they impacted myself and others as athletes, artists, and fans. For instance, it was seeing Joan Benoit Samuelson win the first Women's Olympic Marathon in LA in 1984 that motivated me to learn more about the sport and in turn launch a 35 year running career myself. The story behind her performance is one of lore for you to learn about at your leisure. I'll be sharing a painting dedicated to the moment she entered the stadium on her way to making history.