My work is largely figurative, and I don’t usually paint more than one or two people in a scene. I really enjoy the intimacy of focusing on individual human subjects and exploring emotion and expression through them. I always work from a photo reference, and I have to feel a connection to the image and be inspired by it in some way. Sometimes I’ll see a photo that inspires me and I’ll be able to immediately start working, but more concept-driven pieces take additional time to really plan out. I like to consider all of the elements that go into my work, from the size of the canvas to the color palette and level of expression. I do almost all of my planning and conceptualizing in Photoshop before moving to the canvas.
I use oil paint because of its rich consistency, versatility, and forgiving nature. In order to take advantage of the texture of the paint I use palette knives, especially for my backgrounds. I sculpt and push the paint around and across the edges of forms, blending realism with abstraction. Tension is a painting that I created in the spring of 2020 and represents my best work in this style so far. I was just starting to explore stylization, intentionally moving away from academic realism. I wanted to incorporate more conceptual ideas in my work and decided to try intentionally breaking some traditional rules. Flying forward in the painting is a leaping man with a sword, caught in the moment before he brings down a blow, arms and legs stretched behind him for maximum force. I cropped the composition so that his knee, foot, and hands create tangents on three sides of the image, creating visual tension to accompany the figure’s. The teal background was applied with a palette knife, and is cut by a big swath of cadmium red. These thick, impasto colors overlap and disrupt the figure in various areas, including a portion of the face, obscuring the man’s identity.