What inspires your work? People and animals. With people it’s more about the nuance of flesh tones or capturing an emotion rather than just creating a picture of someone. I find animals very interesting because I think they have a real untapped depth to them, and I want that to show in my paintings. I’m inspired by all that is alive, and I want my subjects to have beating hearts. Do you have a trick you use if you’re having trouble with a painting? Yes; when I’m having trouble, I put all of my small brushes down and go back to the large brushes – it’s important to stay loose. I also stand up rather than sit to get a better perspective of the work and refresh the way I’m looking at it. These things allow me to paint the relationships that shapes have with each other rather than coloring in lines. Do you feel pressure as a full-time artist to be creative all the time? If anything, I feel pressure to think less and take mental breaks. I have a hard time separating work and life, and I’m ok with that. How do you get through creative block? The only way is to stop trying to force it. They don’t say, “sleep on it” for no reason. I am most creative when I’m not trying to be. For me, working early in the morning or late at night is best. I think it has to do with being closer to that dream state of mind. How do you feel when you’re in a creative zone and things are truly flowing? That’s the best because you feel nothing. When I am really in that creative zone five hours will feel like 20 minutes, and all the decisions I make for the painting just happen without much thinking. My favorite quote is one from John Cage:
When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.
I think that describes the creative zone better than I could.
This interview was conducted fall 2014.