When painting I start with a blank sheet of Rives BFK paper pinned to a plywood board on the ground or the wall. I very rarely have an idea of what I'm going to paint. I try to keep my mind clear and open to whatever comes to mind and then I start to play. The hope is to stun the intellect by entering into a frenzy of spontaneous activity through materials. It is important for me to get color and patterns on the paper without conscious thought interfering. I buy paint by the gallon, mostly latex mismatches from Sears and Wal Mart and painted with old brushes from the Goodwill or Salvation Army. Added to that are cattle crayons, masking tape, duct tape, motor oil, tar, ceramic tile adhesive and anything else to add surface. Once covered with materials, I start to erase what was done using a garden hose, steel wool, sandpaper; anything which releases the underlying imagery while not destroying the paper. Once dry, I layer on more stuff before taking it off again, etc., etc., etc. My goal is to try to create the richest possible surface on the paper; a rough patina of nooks and crannies of light and shadow.
Archetypal Shadow Figure #17, 22"x28", 1987
Eventually, I start to tune into what my subconscious is looking for. At first just small designs grab my attention. Without thought, I continue to assault my consciousness trying to mine the depths for something “other” than myself. It's kind of like spontaneous combustion igniting images which transcend the personal while approaching the collective; more poetry than prose.
Portal, 29"x41" 1991
Layering materiality in order to provide depth, to carve away, revealing puzzle pieces which begin to organize into a "new thing". It's a visual exercise of comings and goings awaiting that instant of recognition. There is no reality here, just impressions; a dreaming wakefulness of the moment. In the chaos of process the mind recognizes calmness needing attention.
Aion, 22"x28", 1987
This is the technique I used in the beginning and is the technique I still use today. The materials I choose vary from year to year but the creative energy is always the same.
In the course of time, my interest gravitated toward ceramics and sculpture. I wasn't particularly interested in ceramic throwing or glazes but in creating forms and surfaces by slip casting ceramic cylinders. I now see this work as archetypal imagery and only fully integrating it after I becoming acquainted with the ideas of Eric Neumann and Carl Jung. Initially, I used clay for most of the figures but later began exploring other materials such as metal, wood, bamboo, and reed.
I made molds out of rounded tar paper that I filled with liquid plaster and let it set to harden. Magically, when I removed the tar paper a hollow cylinder mold approximately 2-3 inches thick appeared. Once dry these permanent molds were extremely hardy and reusable.
To begin the ceramic process I would place the mold on a wood plank over a 2 in. drain hole that I had drilled and corked. Then I poured clay slip into the mold's interior before pulling the cork (after a couple of minutes) to drain the clay.
This left a thin ceramic residue clinging to the inside of the mold. Letting nature take it course over a few days the dried (leather hard) ceramic cylinder was ready to slide out of the mold.
Once it dried completely I fired it in the kiln and then finished it by glazing, smoking, or painting the surface.
The figure and the cylinder, like the circle in painting, have been important symbols for me. I now see this work as archetypal imagery and only fully integrated it after I becoming acquainted with the ideas of Eric Neumann and Carl Jung.
I have a theory that our everyday consciousness is created by a infinite quantity of opposites. That duality is what facilitates our conscious experience of the world. Beyond which is a wholeness we cannot fathom or understand through everyday experience. This bliss, to use Joseph Campbell's term, requires reaching out beyond the everyday you. The collective unconscious is essentially a melding of everything's being everything. This is where it gets tricky and dangerous to explain but it's what I am looking for in my art. Touching something beyond myself. Have I ever found it? I don't know. It is the process of trying to find it that's important, not the destination. To put it simply, I am looking for the oomph of life which is easier to do then to describe.
I am striving for is an eternal moment of the right now.
The moment which dissolves into "that's that".