I make prints to connect with a broad audience in a fashion that is both mediated and personal. The privilege of the multiple allows work to be seen by viewers in a variety of spaces and circumstances simultaneously, but the evidence of the artist’s hand bridges that perceived distance. The attention to detail, the respect for craft, the collaborative and interactive nature of the medium attracts people to my work who would not typically engage with contemporary art. It also doesn’t hurt that I have made a lot of work filled with dinosaurs and babies! Subject matter that is at once fantastic and nostalgic is used like a chum bucket to lure eyes to my work.  In this way, I see myself as an evangelist for art, a fisher of men, earnestly trying to pull individuals into the gallery, and to bring artists back in contact with their audience. The democracy of my chosen medium means art can be an inclusive, affordable component of anyone’s life, not just the privileged few. Facilitating these inclusive art experiences is an important component of my research.

 

Contemporary theory and techniques are incorporated with established printmaking techniques in my practice to create work that is at once linked with the present and the past. In this way, my creative work parallels my interest in evolution and natural history. Compositions and motifs occasionally nod toward art historical precedents, while loud colors, and new-fangled techniques place the work firmly in the contemporary milieu. Relief printing on alternative upcycled substrates, lithography using more sustainable materials, and digitally informed execution in a variety of media are but a few generations in my own recent evolution. In the near future, I plan to make paper from fabric and paper scraps left over from previous projects to reduce the environmental impact of print practices. I will also investigate creating my own inks using printable pigments derived from sustainable plant sources. These research endeavors will help me do my part to reduce my footprint while also connecting to the art practices of a bygone age.

 

These new procedural directions will be undertaken deliberately after considerable research and experimentation, not unlike many of the chances taken in my work. An element of risk is a component of every project so that execution is always creative, never routine. I intentionally take shortcuts or even self-sabotage a work in progress to stay present at the press. However, each departure is founded in experience with the expectation of recovery and learning. I liken it to leaping for a hold on a cliff face while still being clipped into the line, rather than jumping out of a plane without a parachute.

 

I experience life through a cinematic lens. The world—whether in close-up or longshots—is always in glorious Cinemascope! This perspective provides an expansive view of all things, which applies to my work as well. Pieces look beyond anthropocentrism, emphasizing humans as a part of a global community—residents, not lords of the manor—who should be good neighbors to each other and all of nature. Years living in south Louisiana, being overrun and then rundown by the consequences of disregard for the environment and the less fortunate have left a lasting impact on my work. In the past I have described respect for the natural world as stewardship, but in some ways this term props up the patriarchy I challenge at every opportunity. Traditional gender roles and notions of romance are self-consciously called into question through work that challenges chivalry, misogyny, and the archetypes of the frigid breadwinner and the happy housewife. My interest in contemporary courtship has been addressed by a central query—“Has Romance Gone the Way of the Dinosaurs?”—a question asked sincerely, and answered with an emphatic “Nope”. Dinosaurs were worthy protagonists and dense symbols in my narratives that referenced the fossil fuels humans tirelessly rip, suck, and dig out of the planet like an abusive lover. The prehistoric cast was also appropriate as I questioned the archaic, primordial nature of many of our behaviors. I used these forbearers to comment on my own upbringing and current lifestyle. Recent collaborations with LGBTQ and African American student organizations have allowed me to be a conduit for others’ voices as they challenge outdated narratives, prehistoric ideas destined for the tar pit of history. Antediluvian themes continue to provide powerful and flexible metaphors even as dinosaurs, in the form of fossils peeking through the geologic record, take on a peripheral role in current projects.

 

To inspire compassion within the culture I have turned the same cinematic lens on myself and my family, to mine for the universal within the personal. Specifically, recent work revolves around my young son, the responsibility of bringing another consumer onto an already over-crowded planet, and his already out-sized imprint on the environment. The purpose of this work is to humbly acknowledge my ecological culpability, while also encouraging a less impactful path forward. Emphasizing repurposed materials and greener techniques in the production of my artwork reinforces that content. Projects also examine the isolation and anxiety of the family in the contemporary cultural and ecological morass. I worry about pieces being too didactic, universal but not flexible, but we are not living in an age of subtlety. A neon orange boom box upside the viewer’s head may be just what is needed to break through the harsh white noise of distraction and division that threatens to drown out society’s voice of reason. Nuance often only preaches to the choir, so in this age of irony a personal vulnerability and sincerity may be the most effective way to unearth shared truths and promote understanding.  In my experience the more we find we have in common, the harder it is to be awful to one another. In the end, my increasingly autobiographical work shares my restless optimism about our collective future.