People ask me, ‘What inspires you”” Honestly, the concept of inspiration is foreign to me, as it implies a force outside oneself, compelling a person to create. I, on the other hand, am so internally driven to paint, that inspiration is really beside the point. It’s about doing the work.
I am something of a bricklayer, a builder of paintings. However, my materials are not bricks and mortar, they are canvas and paint, and my tools are my hands, brushes, knives, and scrapers. To build the paintings I don’t follow a blueprint, preferring, rather, to rely on my eyes, my guts, and my faith. I raise the paintings and I knock them down, over and over again. I make a set of deliberate strokes that could constitute a painting, then I wipe through those marks, blurring and changing them in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. Then, again, I apply the paint and blur, paint and blur, until eventually I take control of the painting, fine tuning it until it says what I need it to say, always allowing those wonderful accidents of paint to show through.
There is a balance to be struck between controlling the painting and giving myself over to the mystery of the unconscious, which is where the new, the unsafe, and the worthwhile work originates. If I don’t allow for that unconscious force to have a voice in the process, the painting has no life, and the work holds no interest for me.
It is not unlike how I live my life: moving slowly and deliberately with engaged eyes and mind, and working with discipline while being open to the unexpected and awed by the inexplicable. This element of surprise and awe is what makes the whole enterprise worth bothering with. And at the heart of it all is that internal combustion engine’the drive to create.