When I was in college, I never appreciated the art of abstraction. It always seemed like a cheat, an excuse for poor draftsmanship. About a year after I had graduated, I ran into some bad luck not more than ten minutes walk from my house—I got jumped. Forget the unfairness of being outnumbered or the necessary training I lacked to truly defend myself. More importantly, I felt extremely vulnerable in my own neighborhood.
Since I didn’t have a job at the time, I thought the easiest solution would be to escape to my aunt’s house in NJ. She lived in a quiet, suburban neighborhood with a strong sense of community and safety. There was so much frustration built up inside that I decided to try new things. Naturally, I started to be mindful of my diet and figured visits to the gym were long overdue. How else was I supposed to prepare should lightning strike twice?
The most significant change, however, was to submerse myself in the realm of uncontrollable variables. I took to the canvas and strayed far from my familiar wont to play it safe. I began to use drawings simply as a starting point for me to deviate along the way. Using layered drawings from observation as a foundation, these paintings provided an exercise in compositional problem solving. They also called out to elements of music like sampling, arrangement and harmonies.
Seemingly minor actions worked together to create an intricate network of complex relationships within them. Textural diversity coinciding with vibrant displays of color theory produced organically anatomical abstractions reminiscent of medical illustrations. The final product was not precalculated, but rather a documentation of a visual dialogue between me and the canvas.
While these paintings originally served as a necessary dose of art therapy, eventually they evolved into an experiment in chaos theory. From suppressing the tendency towards overthinking and over planning, there grew a greater passion for the process and order slowly emerged.
While I would never claim to have decoded this complex art form, I’ve learned to loosen up when I paint, opening up a whole new vocabulary of mark making. Lately, I’ve been exploring new ways to combine traditional life drawing with the emotion I experience from simply listening to the canvas.
Enjoy! And please feel free to leave any feedback, positive or negative.