When you enter my studio you will see a small space with a desk and a work bench with several paintings and drawings in progress. Surrounded with completed work and materials it is a space that promotes focus and tranquility. Lined with paint, brushes, canvas, paper, pencils and charcoal it is often a bit cluttered as I always have more than one project going on at once. My cupboards are stocked with magazines, books, bits of metal, plastic, tags, wire and other found material which I incorporate into my artwork.
While my studio space is enormously important to my technique of creation, my process actually begins on a completely conceptual level. On a daily basis I read and listen to news and contemporary and historical commentary. As I contemplate these current and historic events throughout the day I begin to formulate ideas, pictures and solid concepts in my mind.
I then transfer these ideas into a sketchbook. Filled with sketches and text, my sketchbook holds these ideas until I am able to use them. It is also a place where I often finalize schemes, compositions, titles, measurements, themes, and lists. I imagine anyone looking at my sketchbook would find it very cryptic and hard to understand. My notes, however make perfect sense to me. I store my concepts and and return to them later when I need inspiration or ideas. I love returning to past sketchbooks to see a continuation in time and practice. Much like the practice of keeping a diary, I can very clearly see where I began and then I will know where I am heading. These sketchbooks keep me on track and drive me forward.
With my concepts already largely worked out, transferring them to canvas or paper is the next step in my process. I often begin by tacking a canvas to a wooden board to stretch it and then generously coat it with several layers of clear matte medium allowing each layer to dry in between. Then I apply acrylic paint and layers of different collage material, adding additional layers of matte medium as I work and finishing with a final layer of medium on the top. It is frequently a lengthy and difficult process but by working intently I am able to tweak my concept and process to maximize my intent and the effect on the viewer.
From initial concept to final artwork it is a hard but very satisfactory process. As I expose truth in our collective history and contemporary life I am often disturbed and appalled by what I learn and discover. I feel it necessary to share that truth with a greater audience through my art. With each completed project, I feel a sense of relief, knowing that I have passed on a bit of information that is imperative to a more equitable and sustainable future.