Someone once asked me why I create art. This question, implying a degree of purposefulness and mission on my part, intrigued me and I’ve been pondering it ever since. I suppose at that point in time I didn’t have a clear sense of purpose except for this simple fact: I create art because I must. Art-making is such an integral aspect of my make-up that without it I do not feel whole. I have gone through periods where I ceased producing work and during these times I felt amputated. Phantom pains reminded me what was missing. It was a dull ache–a low rumble like hunger and difficult to ignore. I discovered I have to create art to live fully and comfortably in this world.
Upon reflection I have discovered that I create art not only because it is a necessity to me personally, but also because it is one of my primary means of communicating and connecting with others. I have much I want to say and sometimes words just don’t suffice. I consider myself fortunate to have this visual language at my fingertips. It gives me a voice, a vehicle for conveying experiences, sensations, and emotions that I otherwise could not. Art has allowed me to discover and proclaim my voice in some of my darkest and most hopeless hours. It has enabled me to express and celebrate my greatest joys and moments of profound connectedness. It has also given me the ability to, upon examining the world around me, mirror back my thoughts in a meaningful and constructive way.
Additionally, I create art because life is short. I have always been acutely aware of its brevity and transience. My art-making is, in part, an attempt to embrace the temporal and make it permanent. Sometimes in life I feel as though I am grasping for something that is elusive to me—clutching at something that inevitably only runs through my fingers. Often it feels like it is gone even faster the tighter and harder I squeeze. Art allows me to let go and find a piece of the elusive has somehow remained with me. This is in large part why I love photography—for its ability to still-frame something endlessly moving, its ability to make a transient moment withstand the test of time. In my mixed media work I often incorporate “scraps”, trash that would otherwise be discarded. This can range from old nails that got bent when I was attempting to hammer them into a wall to a pair of stockings that I tore while wearing them. These pieces are transitory moments of life that generally end up in the trash. They often have no real significance other than being the refuse of daily life. But I try to extend the life of these objects—to give them new life and new meaning—by incorporating them into my artworks. I also have a similar approach in my use of paint. I hate to discard the swirls of pigment that inevitably end up dried and unusable on my palette when I am working on a painting, so I developed a way for incorporating them into my next painting. These techniques and approaches reveal two underlying motivations behind my art-making: the recognition of life’s brevity and my desire to memorialize the present moment.