Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I was born and raised in Southern California. I grew up spending a lot of time at the beach and playing baseball with my two brothers. I’ve always been making art, but in college, I was studying business, writing some screenplays, and interning at film studios with the idea of working in the entertainment industry. I began painting seriously for my undergrad thesis show and ended up with a double major in business and art. Since then, I moved into a studio and have been painting in LA.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I’ve been fascinated with art for as long as I can remember. My parents encouraged it. They would draw and photocopy pictures we would color in, like the Laker’s logo and pro wrestler Rey Mysterio’s signature mask. I began making drawings for myself and my brothers early on. I started painting a lot in high school and haven’t stopped since.
What do you like most about working where you do?
My studio is in Inglewood. It’s cheap, a comfortable size with high ceilings, and privacy to work. There are other studios in the building, too, so it’s nice to be around other artists and have a community.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I’m currently exploring ideas around the entertainment industry combined with my personal biography. Some of my paintings reflect an interest in settings associated with Los Angeles, specifically Hollywood and its complicated glamorous-yet-grotesque nature. My subjects are often a hubristic cast in a dreamlike world. They’re acting out a distorted reality and embellishing life. It’s shiny, but sad.
What is your process like?
I’m always sketching and writing down ideas in a journal. Working smaller in a sketchbook lets me to loosen up and study different ways to organize a picture. I translate the sketch onto a larger canvas and then just start painting. I use both oil and acrylic paint, and sometimes spray paint to achieve different textures. Most elements of my work come from imagination, but I use references for details when necessary. I like to work on about five paintings at once to keep things moving.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I’ve been experimenting with painting foliage and placing figures in these landscapes. It’s a much looser way of working. I get to both improvise and edit where the plants and trees end up this way.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
In college, one of my sculpture classes did some weird group sculpture and public performances. Nothing super crazy yet.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I work part-time in entertainment production and sometimes art handling. In February, I worked on the 91st Academy Awards as a production assistant. It was exciting to be a small part of Hollywood’s biggest night. That job inspired some recent work.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
Another painter told me “not to be afraid of my ideas.” Taking risks creatively can lead to good things.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Be prolific with ideas and your work.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
My studio building is its own “community” of 30+ artists, each creating very different work, but with the common goal of making art. It’s really nice to be around other artists and visit each other’s studios. That sense of community is important to survive and grow creatively.
What is your studio like?
There are sketches scattered around and unfinished paintings on the walls. It’s organized enough to find supplies when I need them, but there’s always a battle between order and creative chaos.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I like to meditate in the morning before working. There’s always music or an audio book playing in my studio, too. Flipping through art books usually makes me want to work.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
Completing my undergrad thesis exhibition was important because it taught me how to put together a show.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
It’s challenging having lots of ideas and only a limited amount of materials. Supplies are expensive.
How would you define “success” in art?
My favorite films, music, books, and paintings linger in my memory, and I love to revisit them. They’re successful because they were surprising and truthful.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
It’s been nice to show my work in LA and Italy so far. I had a studio visit with LL Cool J, which was encouraging and exciting.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new series of game show and landscape paintings.