Night Fight, oil on canvas ,40”x42”, 2012
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I just finished a couple of medium sized paintings that I’m really excited about. There are a lot of small works around the studio that help me to push through new and old ideas, but working larger is the best in terms of the amount of energy I like to put into a painting.
Can you describe your working routine?
Aside from the standard paint mixing and canvas preparing, my routine changes all the time. I can say that my best days happen when I’m in full uniform: baggy jeans, hoodie, Pollock-Crocs and headphones. I’m not the tidiest painter, and when I’m in all my gear I can work without being self-conscious. Music is important too. Having an uninterrupted play list can put me in a really focused place, which is why I like listening to electronic music in the studio. Donato Dozzy is an amazing DJ, and Eric Cloutier’s recent “Driftwood Records Mix” is great.
Long Island City Studio
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio space is really interesting right now. I just moved to a live/work space in Long Island City, and I share a space with another artist. We have these “pod beds” that act as one of the walls in our studio, so essentially our sleeping quarters are smack in the middle of our work environment. It’s super convenient. During the hurricane I was stuck at home all week and I got a lot of painting done. I work a full time job at the moment, and it’s great to not have to commute to the studio at night. It makes an enormous difference to have everything in one place. The wall space isn’t very big, so I find myself working on the larger paintings one at a time. This makes each piece feel more independent and less serial.
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
I have an archive of screenshots from action movies and YouTube clips that I was referring to a lot in the past. The images are of women engaged in physical and violent acts like wrestling, boxing, and “girl-fights”. Watching video and looking at video stills allowed me to focus on specific actions that represent the kind of movement I’m interested in, which is very physical, yet choreographed and graceful. I was making a lot of drawings and paintings directly from them before which helped me generate ideas, but I’ve become less dependent on the images lately. The work is more suggestive and fragmented now, and I finally feel like I’m in a “free play zone” rather than a game of mimicry. The process in making the paintings is very layered. I start with a ground color that typically gets covered in the end, but it gives me a starting point and something to work off. Everything from then on is a series of reactions.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
It’s hard for me to reach an interesting place in a painting that involves both abstraction and imagery. If it were easy I probably wouldn’t pursue it though. Sometimes I fall in love with a crazy face or a strange zig-zag, and I’ll make that element really pronounced. I prefer a balance and it’s very hard to hit.
Oil paint on canvas always.
Suz (Slap Slap), oil on canvas, 11"x14"
What does the future hold for this work?
Is there anything else you would like to add?