Human beings descended from primates—but most modern humans are totally oblivious to the fact that we are still literally primates. This observation is at the core of my recent work, which lies at the crossroads of human evolution and popular culture. On one hand, my paintings indulge in the passion and plurality of our finite human experience, but at the same time expose and mock our biological shortcomings. Despite the god-like capabilities and technologies we enjoy today that our ancestors could have only dreamed of, our ancient tendencies find ways to resurface in the present and rear their sometimes-ugly heads.
Drawing on sources from film, street art, comic books, gaming, music, sports, consumer advertising, a plethora of art historical references, and other media, my painted collages and pop-symbolist illustrations send viewers swimming through a brine of familiar imagery. I question if a simple-minded primate can exercise the free will necessary to escape the influences of the models I have depicted that conform so strongly to certain ideas. If not, perhaps my paintings are mere depictions of what a century of mass consumerism, popular culture, and unstoppable market forces have done to replace artistic memory and our timeless, primal, human spirit. It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony and excitement of everyday life and forget what we really are, but I remember. My paintings are a constant reminder of who human beings really are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going.
What my time at KCAD meant to me
The artistic freedom KCAD has provided me at the graduate level has propelled my growth as a painter. The cross-pollination between the MFA program, MAVCS program, and a diverse collection of students and faculty has inspired possibilities in my own work that I would have never predicted. Working in close proximity with other dedicated artists over the past couple years has provided me the opportunity to paint in atmosphere of excellence and openness that I will forever value going forward after my graduation.