My journey through art has been anything but straight. I am self taught and have learned by extensive trial and error. Like any craft, you file away what works and what doesn't. Art is about exploring and incubating concepts until I am able to align my vision with my ability. There are ideas that stay dormant for years until the right set of control, ambition and ability come along to make it happen.
Below are a series of different bodies of work that have developed through the years. Information about the individual pieces and series is available if you double click the images.
The structures and engineering marvels I paint tend to be great metaphors of life, and painstakingly slow to produce. There is a certain discipline that comes with the 80-100 hour paintings. Every single piece starts with me wondering 'why hasn't anyone painted that?' I research and gather ideas and then dive in when the time is right. After about ten hours it occurs to me why no one has bothered to paint these -- they are complicated. But the last ten hours -- the slow turning of the wrench, is why I paint. There is no better feeling than watching these pieces come to life.
Inspired by some recent documentaries on big mountain skiers and mountaineers, I began to think through how I would approach a mountain series. As I researched imaging, I was surprised that I could not find decent art painted from a skiers perspective or the aspects of the mountain that my friends and I ski. Most mountains capes tend to be vague landscapes with the mountain as a backdrop from an onlooker's perspective, not from a participant.
I used early black and white imaging of the American West as inspiration for capturing the gritty, timeless quality of these peaks. By adding subtle tone and a more contemporary composition (with a skier's perspective), I hope to pay homage all of the explorers and ski industry innovators that have made these mountains accessible.
Through the early part of my career, as I shaped my skills in realism, I was always drawn to grittier objects. Rusty metal and chipped paint add levels of character and moodiness that have always lived in my work. Nearly all artists paint still life at some point. These still objects made their way into collaging a series of images that stem from our collective conscious. Art that becomes familiar and tangible by transporting the viewer back to a place or time in life that you can practically smell.
Born and raised in Colorado, the West is a part of me, but I do not consider myself a western artist. I am drawn to the tangible history and vastness of the plains, the power and serenity of the mountains, and the strength and vulnerability of the American Bison. The West's raw, untamed beauty is something I carry into my work. The style that is most recognizably my own stems from early photography of the West. The streaks and imperfections of early images combine with drips, palette knife, and detailed strokes bring a contemporary edge to a vintage look.
As my style evolves, I continue to play with ways to pull the viewer into the subjects. Traditional landscapes have always felt a little vague, so by isolating the mountain and structuring these pieces as I would a portrait, I am isolating the shape of the peak in an attempt to create a more dramatic and contemporary take on a traditional subject. These mountains are as temperamental and moody as any human. They are fascinating to paint when humanized and stripped of their surroundings.
When I was just out of college, I lived in my dad's basement until I saved up the money to move into a small basement apartment in Wash Park. With no formal art training and no money, I worked in ink and watercolor, dragging work around Denver to anywhere that would give me a show. I came across a simple and fashionable style that created a small following that got me published in a variety of magazines and invited to all kinds of events. It was a really good time and I look back fondly on these works and that time in my life. This is a series introduced a level of control that has carried through all of my work.