Brooks Institute, 2010, MFA
My Multimedia Art Process
I use Cosmic Noise, which I harvest as false exposures on a digital sensor, to create hybrid photo-energy paintings on canvas.
I work to undermine verisimilitude by rendering a textural detail in order to interrupt the literal. I do this to engage the viewer’s search for meaning. I seek to use the camera, a device built to fix a perception, in order to deliver a certain freedom from fixed perceptions. I paint multiple layers of varnish and acrylics onto the canvas to marry the physical gesture of the hand with the technological processes used. I am intrigued by the act of manually fixing a digital artifact into tangible form. The result is like poetry, it provides room for mystery, curiosity, introspection and discovery. The final product is a lyrical multimedia artwork that also explores the way mediums such as pixels and paint are perceived and valued.
Cosmic Noise is the most interesting component of digital noise, which is produced by the influence of energies other than light energy as recorded by a sensor. Anything other than a photon which causes stray electrons to pass into a pixel port on a sensor is recorded as noise. There are three types of unseen energies that produce noise: heat energy excites the electrons causing some to fall into the pixel ports, endemic electrical current in the camera system will knock random electrons into the ports, and Cosmic Noise, which is the sum of all the remaining electromagnetic energy outside of visible light that exists in any one place. This includes the radiation emanating from the sun and other cosmic bodies, from geological material in the earth in a given location, as well as from human sources of energy such as cell phone signals, TV & radio signals, satellite feeds and wifi signals. I make these unseen energies visible in my work which serves to interrupt the blind certainty of the visible.
Uncertainty is a growing characteristic of our time. In a time of uncertain markets, politics, careers and futures, I present uncertain images to offer a liberation from the conventional noise of closed minded certitude.
Uncertainty is a compelling force that moves my creative process. Emotionally, I hate uncertainty. I hate the helpless feeling of having the rug pulled out underneath me, especially when it takes me unawares. I loath the gnawing fear of not knowing what ill, if any will come of an uncertain situation.
Simultaneously, I intellectually and spiritually distrust certitude. I am repelled by dogmatic certainty. Uncertainty liberates me. I prefer the mystery of the unknown or indeterminate over the crisply defined idea or narrative.
This teeter-totter between my reactions to uncertainty moves me to explore this state in my work. I do so by removing the recognizable details of a photograph, which dictate the scene, and replace them with a lyrical textural detail. My process is one of my own invention. I use digital noise to render the photograph into a contemporary visual trope. Digital noise is the detritus of digital imaging, it is an unwanted artifact that is widely considered worthless and ugly, yet I transform it into a thing of unexpected beauty. Digital noise is caused by the influence of energies other than photon energy on the digital sensor. I render the noise into a visual and physical texture on canvas. This visual texture stimulates the visual sense while it denies the certainty of the literal. The result is like poetry, it administers room for introspection and discovery.
I grew up steeped in art. My parents are artists and many family friends were artists. My father is a sculptor and potter. My mother works in pencil, mixed media and ceramics. When I was very young, my parents founded Hill's gallery, the first significant contemporary art galleries in Santa Fe. Growing up among the arts and adobe walls of New Mexico affected my aesthetic sensibilities. Colors, textures and creative experiments are the stuff of my earliest memories. I have striven to incorporate these sensual elements into my work.
After my parents divorced, I spent years bouncing back and forth between them among nine different states in every region of the United States. I also lived and studied overseas in Jamaica and Germany. My fragmented and dislocated childhood was not easy, but it gave me the gift of an unusual perspective on differences and commonalities that are often taken for granted. Through my art, I have discovered the strength my turbulent youth gave me. I studied International Affairs at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and completed my MFA at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Furthermore, my wife is Brazilian and we travel regularly to her amazing home country which provides a whole new worldview to explore.
Because I have experienced such a diversity of spiritual, cultural, and economic conventions I have an unquenchable appetite to look beyond fixed beliefs for both immanent and transcendent harmonies outwardly in the world as well as and inwardly in my self. This motivation drives much of how I approach my creative practice. I like to challenge conventions and take the paths less traveled.