In your own words, can you explain what you “do”?
In terms of my art I try to deconstruct images. A lot of things I do, that are involved in the creation of an image, involve drawing and redrawing and drawing in different forms.
I’ve been trying some different things lately that are a little bit different than my regular canvas paintings which are typically bold lines, solid saturated colors and no shading, no texture, no gradients or anything whatsoever.
I’ve sort of started to experiment with other mediums and other ways of still conveying the same or similar feeling. A lot of times it’s through human-form figures.
My art now is a little bit more free-form, a little bit less about what the final is trying to look like and more focused on the process whereas my canvas paintings are mostly focused on the image that I was trying to convey. I wanted the end product to look how I had planned it.
With some of my mixed media, it’s very different than an original sketch or an original idea. I like to play around with it, just experimenting and seeing how I feel with the medium. It’s a little bit less structured.
Where do a lot of your ideas come from?
I think a lot of things inspire my art. This refers to anything I’m working with, this refers to my poetry, my three-dimensional work (like sculpture), my canvas paintings, as well as my other mixed media. I want to say my strongest influence is probably the history of American Traditional Tattooing and just the history of tattooing in general.
I did a lot of research years ago studying tattoo work and drawing and painting flash and kind of getting into the history and the rules behind that type of art. I see that has been reflected a lot in the way that I draw and a lot of people seem to connect my work with tattooing. I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I tattoo, and then I’ve had a couple people have my work tattooed, which is super awesome but I don’t directly tattoo. It’s maybe just something that’s in the rhythm of the way I draw or how I sketch or come up with color patterns representative of the rules of American Traditional flash. There’s a certain way that those pieces look that can be reflected in my work.
Another thing that influences me is graffiti. Graffiti was one of the first times as an adult that I had felt excited again being involved in art. If I hadn’t been involved in that subculture I think my art now would be very different.
Also, I think there’s a lot of similar techniques and a lot of similar mediums and supplies that would be used for that type of work in my paintings, like white-out pens, solid paint markers, aerosol.
I’ve definitely been influenced, too, by my own personal experiences, but that’s maybe more associated with my poetry. Also, the act of free writing without editing. I try to do that with drawing too.
When I first start sketching I tried to just kind of draw whatever and see how it comes out, then work from there. Those are things you can’t plan.
Anybody can draw a flower but the way that everybody draws a flower is always going to be different.
A lot of times I draw where I’m not directly looking at something but I’m trying to draw it from memory. It’s a little bit more personal because everyone’s memory of something may be a little bit different.
I feel like there’s a lot of pressure sometimes, especially when you’re just getting into art. I remember when I had first started getting back into drawing again, which I always did as a little kid but then got away from until I was an adult. There was stress because I didn’t know how to draw something right or it didn’t look right. I’ve just tried to embrace that, that’s where the “Ugly” comes into play, just being able to draw a hand and it’s really wonky or it has six fingers… but that’s how I draw a hand. I’ve tried to embrace whatever is crooked or dirty or messed up or weird looking or not anatomically correct. I try to focus on those because my ideal figure or object would be drawn in whatever way my hand seems to do it. Even though it’s not realistic, it is recognizable.
There’s a lot of different things that come into play but basically I try to be as natural with it as possible and try to embrace the mistakes and ugliness in a way that they come out. I think that’s what makes me feel good about what I do. People usually say “be yourself,” but it’s a lot easier to say than do. At first I was definitely not as confident in the way that I draw things and I’m still not, I’m always learning and there’s still a lot of times too where I use a technique and really don’t like what I make.
I’m always trying to do new things and there’s always going to be failures. Being able to do something that represents me, even subconsciously, is what excites me. It’s just cool to see how all of those things impact the final image. Those flaws become the main focus in what I’m creating.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m also in school full time to get my Masters in Microbiology. I like to spend a lot of time with my family, I spend a lot of time with my dog. I like to read, relax, I’ll go to shows.
You never know, things are always changing but I’ve kind of tried to let myself create when the feeling is there. I’m trying to enjoy my art and even just doing that I’ve gotten an overwhelmingly awesome response from people. I don’t try to press too much to sell things but I’ve been very fortunate to sell pieces around the country and in other countries (Germany!) It’s so crazy to me, doing my scribbles and that people resonate with them.
I’ve gotten some really awesome feedback. I definitely think that it’s really changed my whole perspective on everything, even unrelated to art in my life. I just want to keep learning and keep experimenting and keep changing and see where things go.
**Please see CuRated in print for poetry by Ugly**