Why reproduce a photo in paint? Because it’s not simple reproduction—it’s reinvention. I’ve always been able to make a faithful version of the original picture, but the joy in it for me isn’t in the purely technical. It’s in creating my own interpretation of that still moment: from turning an orange Bengal tiger into a blue dream cat that didn’t exist before, to leaving out electrical wires in a streetscape and embracing bold colors in the scene as a way of heightening the composition’s impact on the viewer, I have control over the painting in a way that lets me say precisely what I want to say.
When I work in abstracts, I’m exploring the possibilities inherent in the materials themselves. There’s a real sense of satisfaction in playing with texture, with moving the thick acrylic paint around and letting the colors mix. I can think a little more sculpturally, and literally make my paintings come up off the canvas. I can play and have a lot of fun with it, and I’m still discovering new joys.
Embracing that kind of joy is why I became an artist. When I was ten, I started drawing mermaids. I obsessed over it, and came up with clean two- and three-color palettes. By the time I was in seventh grade, the Little Mermaid was everywhere and when I drew her for myself, I felt the connection and I knew that I wanted be an artist. I dedicated myself to art in high school, and went off to the Savannah College of Art and Design. After a year, I came back to my native Ohio and transferred to the Cleveland Institute of Art and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration in 2000. I’ve been working as a professional artist and designer since.