A NICE WAY
TO TRAVEL 3 HOURS IN THE PRESENT
A Nice Way to Travel 3 Hours Into the Present is my first truly installation-scale piece: a giant, walk-in painting that I completed over the course of 11 months in 2010-11. The structure consists of a circular yurt, made by hand, seven feet high at the walls and 18 feet in diameter, and a single canvas, 6'6" x 60', that wraps around the entire inside of the structure. It was designed to collapse down and fit easily inside of a box truck. Because of the size and shape of the piece, viewers are forced to approach it as an environment rather than an image, letting it envelop them, rather than address their intellect. The image inside changes gradually as it goes around, eventually coming back to where it started, creating an endless, energetic meditative loop. Originally installed at Burning Man 2011.
RETURN TO SOURCE
Return to Source: completed between May and August of 2016, and first installed at Burning Man that year, this was my first piece to include a programmed lighting sequence that reveals different compositions and characteristics of the piece under different colors of light.
Each panel is 64" high and 120" long, installed on one of three adjacent walls in a 20' square space, so that the centers of the three paintings converge in the center of the room.
Return to Source is about finding your "source," your center, returning to a state of calm after a period of turbulence, whether that disruption was positive, negative, or some combination thereof.
When installed in space, the very strong pull of the center-focused compositions all align at the middle of the room, creating a feeling like you are suspended between three equally-strong magnets. In my experience (and some others have shared the same with me), the sensation is felt physically, not simply an abstract thought.
The paintings all have similar compositions under normal lighting, but under the variable lighting of the programmed sequence, each shifts differently, depending on its color scheme, with each taking on a particularly individual character under blacklight that highlights one of the three major compositional elements that they all share--structured, angular geometry representing the previous life; frenetic, tense linework that evokes the strife and change; and circular rings that return us to center.
Dark Chrysalis is a painting approximately 10 ft tall by 5 feet wide, with a 15-minute color changing light sequence performed to a piece of music. When put on as a full performance, the piece includes not only the music and lights, but also a specific physical installation in which the audience lies down in front of the painting wearing headphones and a 20 lb weighted blanket, giving them the sense of being in a personal cocoon and blocking out the rest of the world.
This piece was initially conceived as a meditation on anger, and in fact is the first large-scale piece I have successfully completed with that particular emotion as a primary driving factor. Anger is often too much of a fleeting, uncontrollable emotion for it to be successfully channeled into a long-term creative project, but in this piece I was able to tap into a deeper well of seething frustration about the problems in the world that I could control just well enough to make the piece.
But rather than being simply a record of disgusted fury, Dark Chrysalis is still first and foremost about hope--that the things that we are doing now that are so frustrating and destructive are necessary pieces of what we must go through in order to clear out the space for a new reality and a a better future for tomorrow. This is revealed in the piece, as the frenetic marks made while channeling anger that dominate the composition under amber light give way to radiant glowing portals under black light.
Place this was.
Receiver is my first foray into three dimensional painting. Created using light-sensitive pigments that can appear to become three dimensional when used in conjunction with ChromaDepth 3D glasses, the piece shifts from appearing to be an edifice crumbling inward when viewed under a red or amber light, to become a radiating ball of light when it becomes three dimensional under the UV light spectrum. Receiver debuted in January 2019 to an audience of approximately 100 people over 2 days. It was shown with a live lighting sequence performed to the tracks "Receiver" and "Epoch" by Bay Area electronic musician Tycho, which were important songs in the inspiration of the piece.
THE END IS THE BEGINNING
The End is the Beginning is an installation and event put on in January 2018. It was conceived as my long-time Art Studio space at American Steel Studios, where he had worked with approximately 40 other artists since 2010, was being shut down and cleaned out. As one of the last ones to leave the space, my studio was still standing, although more than half of the other rooms had already been torn down, and the rest had been vacated, leaving only the abandoned implements of artistic creation combined with the rubble of the space's physical demolition. I set up various vignette installations involving my painting work scattered throughout, highlighting and adding new meaning to interesting or disintegrating spaces. Additionally, artists Katie Chen and Liah Hansen put on visual performances investigating the role of money in art and the temporailty of creation, and musicians Charles Darius and Dylan Jennings created a haunting ambience with a brass/keyboard/vocal performance. I also installed work in my new space in a different building within the same complex where I and a handful of the other artists have been given new Studios (at significantly increased rent). The show was a commentary on the precarious life of the artist in a place like the Bay Area, where the cost of space can make it difficult to practice--in fact, several of the artists who did not get new spaces in the complex moved out of the area. But it was also simply a creative exploration of a space in transition, created without permission, on short notice with the physical parameters of the space continuing to change right up until several hours before the show.