This is a series of narrative paintings inspired by mythology. Why create art based on something old and obscure? Because myths still drive us and inspire us. More specifically, what purpose would I like my art to serve?
I want it to make the world a better place. I want the world to be more peaceful. I want people to listen to others and really take in what they have to say, especially if what they hear makes them uncomfortable. I want people to treat other species with honor, and give them space to live out their lives as we live out ours. Can art do that? Probably not. But maybe it can inspire a conversation.
If I can’t heal the world through art, maybe I can at least make people smile. Maybe I can remind them of something from their childhood, when the world was infinite and full of magic. Maybe I can rekindle their sense of wonder, and leave them with the sense that there are more possibilities for what the world can be than what we’re living in now.
The more I try to consciously direct my paintings, the more I limit them. I’d like to fashion them into hammers to tear down the walls of injustice, but most of them don’t want to be hammers. They want to be beach balls. Or garden tools. Beach balls are fun, right? We need fun sometimes. And with garden tools we can till the soil. We can plant ideas that someday will sprout… but I’m getting ahead of myself…
The poet Gary Snyder once spoke on the subject of how clear the meaning of a poem should be. He said something to the effect that there are two extremes: on one end is prose, where everything is spelled out concisely. On the other is the trance state of the shaman- there’s meaning, but it only makes sense to someone in a trance. In between is the sweet spot. There’s meaning, but a lot is left to the imagination. That’s the spot I try to hit with my narratives.
Based on a talk given at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, 2018