First, tell me a little bit about yourself! You’re in Philadelphia currently; are you from there?
I am actually from Falcon Heights, Minnesota (which is just north of the Twin Cities). I attended Georgetown University where I majored in Studio Art, while also playing for the varsity baseball team – (my whole family is involved in sports). Then from Georgetown I moved to Philadelphia to continue my education in Fine Art (I think the east coast has captured me (at least temporarily).
Where are you at in your art education? What has the experience been like for you so far? Feel like sharing any pros and/or cons you’ve encountered in the process?
In terms of my art education, I really fell in love with painting in high school. I had a teacher who allowed me the freedom to create and really learn for myself what the medium could do. This love came back around in undergrad where I decided, very late, to become an Art major. Honestly I was mostly involved with sports at that time leaving art to play more of a back seat role in my life. However, the sheer love of painting never escaped me – (I would often need to paint late into the morning hours just to have adequate time to complete my projects). From there I came to the MFA program at PAFA, where I have fully embraced the opportunity and time to focus on painting. This program has really allowed me to enter into the contemporary world of art and start to begin a dialogue that I hope continues for long after I reach the end of school.
In your recent paintings, you seem interested in an abstracted figural style. Can you tell me more about your work?
My most recent style, which generally could be described as abstract figuration, developed from an urge to breakaway from precisely rendered representation. I honestly didn’t understand abstract art, so toward the end of undergrad and the beginning of my Masters program I made myself do it, and do it in a way that didn’t utilize any of the facility that I had developed over my years of painting. This push propelled and distinguished the style that I am currently working in. I feel like the languages I employ in my recent work have more freedom to explore and reference the gestures and decisions I have admired. (Milton Avery, Kerry James Marshall, Rothko, Vuillard, etc..) Drawing from these artists and learning about their decisions to paint within their histories has made me feel more connected to my arrangements with contemporary art and artists.
What is your process like for getting started on a piece? Where do you derive your ideas from?
My process, at the moment, is very open. Sometimes I sketch, sometimes I do a small study, and sometimes I just kind of go after a canvas with a blank mind and serious doubts, like fuck it. Why not? However, I will admit, I am a bit obsessed with the construction of surfaces. I want to feel their familiarity before I start – and I think this is really the process that is vital to the painting, and what happens on the painting – and even the figuration.
What do you consider to be the most daunting aspect of pursuing art seriously, especially as someone who is anticipating the “real art world” soon?
One thing I worry a bit about after finishing my program is just the nature of community that I will be left with. I hope for lots of interaction, but I have been forewarned. So idk, mostly its just the uncertainty of transition.
What is your studio like?
Is there a tool or an object in your studio that you can’t go without?
The thing I can’t go without with right now is my small (but growing) collection of crappy home depot painting brushes. They create such excitement on the surface for me.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Being in a grad program, its hard to sort through all of the advice I have received in such a short amount of time, but if I think I could paraphrase it, it would read something like: “you have to risk it for the biscuit”.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects you’re currently developing?
Currently I am working towards my final presentation for my MFA program – I actually recently applied to an in-school grant which made me lay out what I would think I wanted – Turns out it’s some thing like 8-10 large scale paintings (about 5-7ft each side). They are going to be a the same vein as my recent work (the stuff on my website).
Anything else you would like to add?
Lastly, I just wanted to thank you again for this opportunity. I am excited about what the future holds for artists and the way art is presented, and I feel like I am taking part in this through you.
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