"Altered Perception" came together quickly and was done with ink, crayon and acrylic on paper. At this point in my life, I have no idea what I am going to do with all of these works. I just sort of create them to create them. They are more exercises in creativity. They aren't about things being perfect, they are about movements, composition and energy. At times, I ask myself...what is the point? Nobody cares. I don't care at all for art critics or gallery curators or so-called art 'experts'. So why do I create? I create simply because I am called to create. I create for God. We all can get caught up in the desire for approval from other people or compliments but at the end of the day it is about creating something that is pleasing to myself which I believe makes our Lord pleased. I suppose the title "Altered Perceptions" can apply to many things in life. How we see the world around us can be different for each individual even though we are looking at the same thing. Sometimes we look in the mirror and we don't see the same person that we saw yesterday or even five minutes prior. This piece is sort of a play on that reality. The merging of the surreal with the real. I am experiencing tremendous periods of lonesomeness and at times I feel like the individual portrayed in this piece, wondering what is wrong with me. Again though, that question can be phrased the other way around, what is wrong with other people? Why do I not ask myself the question in that way, but always in a negative way towards myself? Anyways, these are just thoughts wrapped around this image and this day in particular.
This piece entitled "Kicking Habits" was created with 90% oil and a little bit of cheap acrylic on the backside of cut piece of wood wall paneling. I really enjoyed creating this piece. It was freeing, no restraints, just pure fun and an experiment in releasing creative energy. My style is becoming more and more abstract with each painting so it seems. This process has become an incredible learning experience for me. I actually had to train myself to become less and less "detail" oriented and more focused on making a picture that excites my eye and potentially the eye of the viewer. The subject matter isn't anything that is particularly related to me per se'. It is just a general metaphor for anyone that is struggling to get over a bad habit in their life, whatever it may be. I suppose we all have at least one thing that we are addicted to in our life whether it be habitual negative thinking or habitual drug use or habitual smoking, etc. I began this work with no visual concept in my mind, I simply built from the eye outward. Whatever happened, happened. Normally I will begin with some sort of general idea, but I didn't do that this time. I am very pleased with the result. In many ways I guess you could say that is akin to certain days where we wake up with a clean slate having no idea what we are going to do that day and just building off of each event. In this case it is more like building off of each mark or brushstroke that is made upon the surface. I have come to learn that the process of creating art can be quite reflective of various actions in life, it really is a fascinating experience.
I have titled this piece "Song of Solomon. It is an abstracted representation of both Solomon from The Holy Bible and God in many ways. I have always understood many aspects of the person of Solomon to be a pre-figurement of Jesus Christ in many ways. The book of the Bible entitled "Song of Songs" is basically a love poem from The Lord to His people through the veiled writing of Solomon. So I wanted this piece to reflect the burning love that God has for all of us. A detailed examination of the scrap of paper on the left eye of the figure is from a 1970's encyclopedia entry about the "Song of Solomon". I had a lot of fun creating this piece and I feel that it captures what I had set out to capture. The beating heart playfully representing the beating Heart of our Lord for His people. The whimsical playing of the musical instrument representing His joy at His creation. This piece was created with oil paint and cheap acrylic paint on an old Ikea computer desk leg that had been dismantled from the base. I really enjoy painting on different types of wood. These cheap pieces of wood from places like Ikea have a smooth coating that makes for fantastic paint blending. I can honestly say that while I have always enjoyed realistic portraits in all of my years of creating, the level of experimentation that can be achieved in surreal and abstract art is limitless. It is such a blessing to me that I have fallen into creating this sort of work. It is exactly what I needed in my life and honestly is one of the few things that gives me great joy. Praise God! One of the things that I try to get across to people that I talk to is that any human being has the ability to create art if they would simply allow themselves to do it without placing so many demands upon themselves. It is the people in this world that tell others that they cannot achieve things without degrees or certifications that are the deceivers. If you have a desire to create, then experiment and have fun doing it. I do hope you enjoy looking at this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it.
I titled this piece "Mirrors". Many of the titles that I attach to these works that I create stem from words that enter my mind after their completion. Sometimes I don't even know why I have titled a certain piece the way I have but after contemplating it, it makes sense for some reason. Anyways, "Mirrors" was created with oil paint on an old piece of decaying wood that my Grandfather Luigi used many, many years ago. It was a piece of wood that was underneath the back porch at my house. The decay adds just the wonderful texture that I wanted with the woman's face, it couldn't have worked out more perfectly. I must say, I really enjoy painting on found objects whether it be an old book or a piece of wood or something like that. There is something unique about it that adds a whole new dimension to a work. Not only that, but the way that oil paint merges with wood is something that cannot be matched. The reason that the title "Mirrors" is relevant to this piece is in the upward gaze upon the eyes of the subject. She gazes towards God in whom we each should mirror on Earth. We are called to be mirrors of His love and His Truth to those we encounter in our lives. So the title "Mirrors" I feel perfectly reflects (no pun intended) the premise of the piece. This work is also reflective of my own life at this point in time because I simply gaze upward to God, pleading for His guidance in this confusing situation that I find myself in. I have absolutely no idea where my life is headed but I can only look to Him to lead me by the hand.
This is a work that lied untouched in my studio that I had forgotten about. I titled it "Release" since it is centered around the release of the soul at the moment of death. From what I recall, this painting began as something completely different and this image was born from it. While many people spend their lives avoiding the reality of death, I find myself thinking about what it will feel like at that moment quite often. It is something I feel that can never be adequately put into words in this life. This piece I think has a sense of mystery to it which is what I hoped to achieve with it. I like to create pieces sometimes that do not require much explanation, they are merely visual words so to speak. The motion strokes behind the figure are representative of the upward movement of the soul during death to meet Jesus, The Creator. The shape of the soul was created by hand-cutting a shape and spray-painting over top of it. There is a motion throughout the painting climbing upward which works really well. Many times I will sit a painting aside in the studio, thinking that it isn't complete but after coming across it at a later date I realize that it doesn't need anything else. That is what happened with "Release". There is something in my soul that simply knows when a piece of work is complete. It is always important to me that a piece engage the viewer throughout the entire composition. Many people ask me what I do with all of the art that I create and my response is usually that I do nothing with it, it just sits. Sometimes if there is a piece that someone is drawn to, I will just give it to them as a gift. I create because I must create, my soul yearns to express myself. I suppose that one day when I have passed away from this earth, someone will enjoy these pieces that I have created. That is my hope.
"Sheep of a Darker Shade" continues along my path of experimentation. I am really just enjoying playing with composition, textures and shapes. Starting with the blank page and working out a complete picture, building and modifying is extremely satisfying. I would consider it on a small scale to be like life itself, constantly modifying, making mistakes and morphing them into something useful. At birth, we are given a blank canvas and minute by minute, day by day we are made into a complete picture that can only completed and seen for what it truly is upon our passing through the veil of death into new life. It is as though God teaches me about various realities through my experiences of creating different works of art. The past five years have been interesting for me to say the least. One thing is for sure though, I can honestly say that I am at a place where I am actually having fun creating art and it isn't a chore. That is something that I hadn't experienced in many years. As for the theme of this particular piece, one could say it is a vague abstraction of someone who believes himself to be the black sheep of a family not necessarily because he is, but because of his hidden desire and enjoyment of being so. That is the general concept behind this piece. More often than not, I try to keep my works of art open to interpretation yet at the same time structured around a general idea. I find that spelling everything out for the viewer in a particular piece can take away some of the mystery and wonder that can captivate whoever is looking at it. Letting the viewer open their own imagination up and wonder what the intention of a piece was engages them and invites them to participate in the piece in a certain sense.
This piece is entitled "Breaking Open The Seal" and is loosely centered around passages from the Book of Revelation. I had a lot of fun creating this piece since it continued along the more expressionistic approach that I have been working with as of late. I wanted an abstract yet recognizable work. I did a lot of experimentation in here with cheap acrylic paint, charcoal, pencil and crayon on paper. There is even some ballpoint pen thrown in at certain points. I find that creating from my own imagination can be extremely satisfying when it comes together the way it should. I have learned much about my own creative process in the past 5 years. I have learned that it is my own creation and no one has to be pleased with it except me. If people enjoy it, then that is wonderful to know that it is impacting someone in a certain way. There is a certain charm in these primal works that I have been creating that I am in love with. In a certain sense I feel that growing as an artist can in many ways involve reverting back to techniques learned as a child. These days for me it seems to be about creating what brings me enjoyment rather than something that I feel that I "have" to do. I am very much fascinated with simply making marks on paper and how lines and shapes can form images. It is a beautiful experience. We live in a very results oriented society that thrives on productivity. It is a society that classifies one's worth based on what they "do". It is a society that becomes more and more complex as each day passes. Many of these more recent works that I have done reflect my own personal desire for simplicity.