As you know I have been a fan of your work for quite some time. Your unique style sets you apart from other artists. You are inspired by Pop Art icon, Roy Lichtenstein. Can you tell me more about your creative journey as an artist?
Thank you very much. I first started making these pieces as an outlet for myself. The fact that others appreciate and enjoy the work is humbling. I will never forget a trip to the Hirshhorn in D.C with my family when I was a kid where I saw my first Lichtenstein in person. It was overwhelming and has stuck with me.
When I became an artist, I was still very inspired by his work and wondered (in a tongue in cheek way) how I could take one of his pieces and recreate it in another medium, just like he did when taking comic strips and repositioning them as lithography. Having grown up working with wood, it was a comfortable option for me and, combined with my graphic design background, it left me with a new medium and expression that I think really works. Having said that, I have not used Lichtenstein’s imagery since that start and began to create my own style and hopefully, I am establishing a unique voice.
Your work is truly a labor of love where each piece can take up to 50 hours to create. Can you tell me more about your creative process?
My process always starts with a sketch. I develop each drawing until I am satisfied with a concept or direction for the piece. Next, I create a true to size template on paper of the piece. I cut out the individual pieces of the template and use them to transfer the drawing to wood. Using a scroll or jig saw I cut each piece while meticulously working out the layering process.
At this point, the piece tends to evolve from the original sketch because what works on paper does not always work three dimensionally. Therefore, I spend a lot of time making sure the layers of wood stack well and the edges align, so it will make sense visually to the audience. After sanding each piece, I stain or paint and assemble them in layers from front to back so I can better fill and paint the edges before overlapping with the below plane. The final piece is comprised of laminated pieces of wood that when stacked together create a compressed dimension. From illustration to framing, one individual work can take, on average, between 35 and 50 hours to complete
You work with a very interesting medium, wood. How did working with this medium transpire?
I originally chose birch as my medium because it has a fairly smooth and subtle grain pattern. It still has its imperfections, and while you can control it to certain extent, you do not have total control over where the grain will land. I like that about it. I want my work to have a nostalgic quality to it, and I believe using wood as my medium lends itself that way. There is something satisfying about taking a sheet of plywood and turning it into a piece of art.
You currently have your work exhibited at the La Jolla Gallery. Can you please tell me more about this exhibition?
I just recently sent a few new pieces to The La Jolla Gallery. I have followed their progress since they opened, so it is exciting that they are currently featuring my work. It is a nice collection of my figurative work, collage, and isoline series where I really have explored and focused on the layering process and dimension of my pieces.
What is next for you on your creative journey? Do you have any interesting upcoming projects you are looking forward to?
I am staying very busy with several upcoming projects and commissions. I have new work in a show opening July 1st with Mixx Projects in Telluride, CO. I will also have pieces in the AAF NYC in the fall and at Art Basel in Miami both will be shown by Elisa Contemporary Art. I am also working on a new print series that I am pretty excited about. It gives me the opportunity to explore new techniques.