I cut my teeth and made mad art. I went to North Lake College where I flunked piano class(1) & got schooled by Roberto Munguia(2). Encaustics served to shape my process across all mediums, that being a process of incorporating external elements(3), weathering(4), & building/reducing a surface repeatedly(5) to capture time(6).
Living on my own by the age of eighteen and with my first child to support, the money ran out quick. This affected my art in two significant ways since I could not afford to purchase encaustic supplies. For one, it meant that I turned to oil and acrylic painting as my primary media. I used the same process of building up and reducing a surface repeatedly, weathering, incorporating external elements(7) and painting on found or borrowed objects(8). For encaustics it marked the beginning of putting a lot of time into a single work of art. Due to the properties of encaustic I discovered that I could work on a piece over the course of several years. This helped shape my theory of art, though I would not recognise that for many more years.
I dove in and got lost for a while. I set my art on fire with gasoline. Over time, as my resources got drained by hard living and legal fees, my work began to rely upon found objects and more accessible media like latex paint and spray paint(9).
As the roof over my head continued to shrink & my hard living deteriorated I stopped painting until I got to the point that all of my art was living in a broke down car in an apartment complex that I didn’t live in.
1. About a girl.
2. Design & encaustic painting professor at North Lake College. I repeated encaustic painting classes with him thereafter.
3. Soil, ash, nails, stones, bones, poetry, moths, leaves, photographs, amethyst, quartz.
4. Open exposure to summer heat, guided sunbathing, positioning underneath dense foliage, positioning in direct sunlight, calculated exposure to thunderstorms, exposure to freezing temperatures, burial.
5. Weathering, fire, scraping, solvents, gasoline, sanding, time.
7. Fabric, glass, fax machine components, cassette player, camera, photographs, chains, frames, drawings, color photocopies.
8. My sister’s paintings, found wood, discarded student work, broken masonite, swarovski crystal chandelier packing inserts.
9. Both mediums I actually had a lot of fun working with and would be interested in exploring further if/when I return to creating synthetic based work.
I packed it all into a trailer hitched to a turquoise Chevy Cavalier(10) and drove it out to Orange County. My palette changed. This was the first time I ever realized that where in the world one paints can have such a profound effect on the work. I used to think that all of art came from the individual. I had been used to the brute force of north Texas(11). California’s atmosphere is thinner and has a blue hue(12). I honed my drawing skills and flirted with sculpture(13). I adapted my weathering process to SoCal’s mild weather by using harsher techniques(14). This was also the first time that I had the liberty of creating art in a house that was not a rental and had a yard so I got to try out new materials and techniques(15). California was also the first time I got to show my art(16). Then I decided that living in California was too easy so I packed it all into an '86 Volvo station wagon and drove her hard over I-40 back to Dallas, where hard living comes easy.
10. Purchased for $250, it came with a chain to keep the trunk closed, bullets in the glove box and White Zombie in the cd player.
11. My Dallas palette was based on strong reds, yellows, blues, orange and black.
12. In southern California my palette incorporated white to a much larger extent and the hues of the colors lightened.
13. Irvine Valley College & Saddleback Mountain College.
14. Paint stripper, physically beating paintings with hammers or rocks, and fine tuning my technique of sanding down the surface.
15. More natural elements like foliage & soil, the introduction of burial in soil as a weathering technique and more expressive painting techniques, such as throwing paint at the work.
16. A very nice gallery with wine and cheese, a hip new gallery with espresso, a restaurant with terrible lighting and good beer, an avant-garde warehouse turned art space with really rad performance art, a very odd yacht club and, my favorite, the stage setting of a play.
I got into the University of Miami, packed it all back into the Volvo and drove eastbound and down. The University of Miami was expensive and I wasn’t making much working the graveyard shift so I slept with my art in the car on Biscayne Boulevard. That wore me out pretty quick so when my Volvo broke down I traded in my education for a roof (18).
My first place was in Little Haiti & my next was in Wynwood (19), where I stayed for several years. Though on a slim budget I began painting again (20). The atmosphere here again was completely different than California and north Texas. South Florida has much cleaner atmosphere and lends itself to a full spectrum palette(21).
Miami is beautiful and violent and I lived some of my best hard times(22). I painted some of my favorite work by candelight when I lived without electricity for a year. My painting became more physical (23), spare, and punk/dada (24).
18. I managed to hang on to my paintings but my sculpture got towed with the car.
19. When I moved to Wynwood it was working class. Little did I know it was transforming into the Wynwood Arts District.
20. Acrylic & latex paints on found wood.
21. I introduced pink to my palette for the first time.
22. Rats, punk rock, tango, christmas whiskey, a daughter, arroz con gandules, jellyfish, backyard dance halls, illicit bars, bicycles, another son, high tides, graffiti, art galleries, beach life, the piss house, pink champagne, Art Basel, & the heroin dealer’s ducks.
23. Throwing paint and spitting paint in addition to established practices of sandpaper, fire and beating.
24. Punk/dada in painting entails the ability to work on a piece without giving an armistice about the results. The point is not to paint to create an object, the point is to paint for the sake of the physical action of painting.
I lived a good and mean life for a while, hard working and raucous. Then I came home to find my home empty of everything but a shattered aquarium and all of my art in the dumpster.