Premlinary Artist Notes: THE WORK is about this artist’s personal journey. It's about falling in love with the visual arts and abstraction in Washington, D.C. in 1995. It's about a pilgrimage to San Francisco in 2000, and the ensuing 8-year artistic discovery process, and it’s about arriving in New York in 2007 for further artistic growth and (r)evolution. Most importantly, it’s a micro-documentary about the bodies of work that germinated and incubated along the way.
In the interest of brevity, I’ve tried to edit myself to succinct paragraphs coupled with a few poignant images representing each body of work. I’m happy to send additional photographs, information, and answer questions. Please e-mail me at email@example.com
Thank you for going on this journey with me in the discovery of my work.
Present + Future Perfect (Overview of Art created in New York)
In April of 2007, I relocated from the left coast of San Francisco to the far West Village, ready to share my own unique process of working with "industrial papier-mâché," comprised of cement and shredded documents on linen on board, with the different sectors of Contemporary Arts in New York… What happened has felt not-so-unlike moving to San Francisco at the peak of the dotcom >>> frenetic spending and a frenzy of manic activity, only for the Art Market to plunge into a state of free-fall as the economy careened into a downward spiral.
Standing here in 2012, I can say it’s been a FIVE (5) year period of marked incubation, and here’s what is important. In the midst of navigating everything, I’ve found solidarity with new artist friends and creative business partners, and relished each growth step, especially the ones that felt impossibly hard. I’ve learned important lessons about myself as an artist and as a person.
Onward and upward! It’s the ARTS in New York!
Vertiginous, 2000-2006 (Overview of Art created in San Francisco)
(This section is dedicated with undying love to Sheilah Boothby, my former editor and the founder of San Francisco Arts Magazine.)
Artist Notes: From the gold rush to the outlaws, hippies, beatniks, sexual revolutionaries, political theorists, and even Silicon Valley’s technological entrepreneurs, people with “non traditional approaches to reality” have migrated to San Francisco and the Bay Area to liberate themselves through creative reinvention and through breaking out from conventional societal constructs.
It was this spirit of freethinking that called to me to find a home by the Golden Gate in San Francisco’s emerging arts community.
During 2000-2006, a period I affectionately refer to as my “vertiginous period,” I began a relentless quest of constant experimentation of the boundaries of my artistic range, producing many disparate bodies of work encompassing photomontage, sound art, spoken/written word, and performance art exploring subjects as flagrant sexuality, loss of innocence, aging, and the continued devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
I considered my approach to art during this time to be akin to fashion houses, meaning that if my spring solo was comprised of performance work, then my fall exhibition would be comprised of digital collage – the mandate of visceral, stylistic, and subject matter change was the constant.
It was this necessary period of unbridled experimentation that ultimately led me to find my own unique voice, a passion that dictated a return to formal abstraction and working with cement and shredded documents.
Primer, 1994-1999 (Overview of Art created in Washington, D.C.)
If you had inquired of me in the spring of 1994 as a resident of Annapolis, Maryland, embarking upon college about my career plan, I would have responded enthusiastically about my acceptance at the University of Maryland, College Park in the undergraduate program of Government/Political Science as a precursor to the practice of law.
If you had presented me with the same question in 1997, I would have self-identified as an abstract painter, and as someone whose vocational path was in the visual arts.
I can’t underscore the radical nature of this mind shift. Until I became a University student, I had never met anyone who self-identified as an Artist. (Or gay, or feminist, or liberal, or creative/entrepreneurial) During my entire academic development, the arts had been classified strictly as an extracurricular activity.
Identifying as an ARTIST was the antithesis of the suite of career options that had been proposed to me, but the synthesis of my DNA as a self-aware gay man, as a creative, and as an intellectual.
During this “coming of age” period, there were important academic mentors who opened my third eye to the possibilities available to me in the arts.
Mettie Marilyn Smith, Esquire, Annapolis, Maryland
Nancy Pierce, Art Instructor, Los Angeles, California
Joan Samworth, Corcoran Art/Reach instructor, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Gregory P.J. Most, Head of the Photographic Archives, National Gallery of Art, Washington. D.C.
These teachers and life-counselors hold my eternal gratitude.