(July 2009. Giclee on canvas, original. 74 x 34.") After the summer in my first teaching job, I wanted to continue experimentation into post impressionism primarily using a palette knife to paint several canvases in acrylic. I remember reading that the painter Vincent Van Gogh would paint using different palette knives, the paint tube itself, or with short jabs from a thin brush. In this painting, I wanted to paint from an old memory of the panhandle sunset I grew up with similar to how Van Gogh started his later paintings. I used to have evening classes in Canyon Texas and would often see the sun set over the distant plains as I made the commute. I originally used a masonite canvas employing contrasting colors of the sun and plains to highlight the last moments of sunlight.
Light and Rest
[Giclee on Aluminum (1/8"), July 2018 Original. 34 x 22"] In Paris, the sweltering heat from the midday summer sun outside drove masses of people like myself indoors to the Musee d'Orsay. Once I took the crowded elevator to the top floor, I turned the corner to see this view of their baroque-style restaurant. Something about that moment seemed frozen as if time had slowed and the clock just outside the rounded window had come to a stop. I felt the heat from my body rapidly cooling and all I could feel was relief as if I had found water in the desert. All at once, I felt as if the entire room were wrapped in a moment of joy ignoring the intensity of the clock that filtered the light into the open space. I felt like I was seeing all of humanity joyously conscious of this precious moment of their existence. In this painting, I wanted to recreate the moment I felt seeing light wash over an entire room. I used oranges and yellows to exacerbate the heat in the room and to strike a visual contrast between the energy of emotional relief and the impending inevitability of time.
Power and Voltage
(Giclee on Canvas, August 2020 Original. 18 x 27") When I lived in LA, I often traveled outside of my neighborhood walking to other neighboring cities like West Hollywood or Century City. This painting features the power lines that connect the borders between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood near the Beverly Center mall. The original image was taken in November of 2019 when a flurry of pedestrians, cars, and shoppers would be in a commotion below. In this painting, I felt the need to mirror the energy of what it felt like to live in Los Angeles at the height of its economic success in 2019. It was hard for me to imagine just how much power was running through this part of a city with 8 million people. I wanted to visualize the symbolic flow of this frenetic energy and communication through the power-lines that helped create such an iconic city.
(Giclee on canvas, October 2019 Original. 64 x 42.5") After moving to my new apartment and getting adjusted to my new teaching schedule, I wanted to experiment with traveling, painting, and teaching at the same time. I took my gear and started going on short weekend trips to cities in the west like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Sedona. This painting is from my time in Las Vegas walking “the strip” and bathing in the LED lights along the Las Vegas boulevard. In this painting, I wanted to visualize the cool neon heat that surrounded the buildings on the strip as they cooled down just after the sunset.
(Giclee on Canvas, January 2020 Original. 22 x 30.5") After getting up early on a Sunday morning to go to the nearby farmers market, I decided to go through Rodeo drive to see a man meticulously polishing a business sign before the stores opening. In my neighborhood, I rarely saw economically diverse hispanic ethnic groups that weren't hourly wage workers. Much of their working hours were late at night into the early morning to be unseen by the Beverly Hills community. In this painting, I wanted to show just how meticulous a street like Rodeo Drive can be maintained and to highlight the unseen workers responsible for creating its capitalistic beauty. His clothing and skin would be painted to match his surroundings as if he was camouflaged with the building.
Social Media (1 of 3)
[Original. Giclee on Aluminum (1/8”) August 2017. 50 x 70”] After watching the news and seeing another administrative authority within our government use the concept of "doublespeak" to avoid answering a question, I decided I would make a series of visual paintings showing how words are absorbed through the ear canal of the average human brain. In this painting, I wanted to visually interpret how language can play such a vital role in understanding ourselves and each other. The "waves" of friction swarming around each letter overlap, confuse, and paralyze each letter as speech begins to be absorbed by the subjects brain. The letters in this image show the exact moment when they begin to fall down the stairs toward the brain-soup below. Marcel Duchamps’ “nude descending staircase” was used as the model for the cavern-like brain.
Social Media (2 of 3)
(July 2019 Giclee on Canvas Original. 50 x 64") This painting is the second in a three-part series visualizing the concept of "doublespeak" in social media with its uses a mechanism for social manipulation. In this painting, I wanted the interpretation of the ear canal and brain depicted in the first painting to continue. In this interpretation, the letters that were organized on stairs before doublespeak was used have now tumbled to the bottom of the Marcel Duchamp stairway into the brain.
Social Media (3 of 3)
(Giclee on Aluminum (1/8"), December 2019 Original. 50 x 70") After moving to Los Angeles, I began wondering how much and how long it would take for my external surroundings to alter my art and the style behind it being that it was my first time living outside of Texas. I went to the Beverly Hills library to find that Salvador Dali himself spent time in the same city I called home. I was surprised in finding out in the history of Beverly Hills, just how close he and Marcel Duchamp really were to the neighborhood I called home. In this painting, the letters that have fallen through the ear canal of the first two paintings, have now pierced into the world of abstraction. Duchamp's style would mostly influence the first two paintings in this series drawing a continuous path between the ear canal and the surreal universe. Dali would help create an end to the stairs and a mirror onto the surreal universe of abstract symbols inside the ear canal. In this world, very little doublespeak language would be retained while consciousness (black orb) would vacuum nothing but the remaining catchphrases.
Cathedral of Rock
(Giclee on Canvas, November 2019 Original. 38 x 53.5") I made a pit stop in Sedona Arizona last year as I was moving my whole life between Austin and Los Angeles. The landscape in Sedona has always looked alien-like to me with its pastel green cacti, bright blue skies, and red-orange sand that looks to me like brown sugar. I felt like this view from Cathedral Rock explained in vivid detail just how strange this terrain was to someone like me from Texas.
[Giclee on Aluminum (1/8"), December 2019 Original. 48 x 62"] After moving into the neighborhood, I realized I’d never seen Beverly Hills at night. I took my bicycle out for a night-ride seeing that several houses flooded their front lawns like headlights on a car. I thought about how strange it was to see a gallery of plants, shrubbery, and flowers lit like an outdoor sculpture garden at night. After going several blocks, I found this single flower in a sea of other well-lit vines. In this painting, I wanted to visualize the perspective of a plant exposed to a constant light. I was studying expressions of pain in art at the time and thought Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud would be fun to collaborate with. This painting mixes their styles with my own.
(July 2019 Giclee on Canvas Original. 40 x 60") I was looking forward to experimenting with my idea of doing my art while also traveling through Europe in the summer. I would finish this painting while traveling in Poland. The subject in this image is an unassuming man waiting for a bus. Something in his eyes gave me the vision of him effortlessly coming down from the heavens and blending in with the general public as Gabriel the Archangel. In this painting, I wanted to interpret a modern reference to the angel Gabriel coming to earth to interpret a dream for the prophet Daniel. I fused bird and human anatomy to draw, animate, and then paint the wings attached to his spine. I also had to acknowledge that any object moving as fast as the speed of light would probably in our physics, create a burst of energy like lightning hitting the ground. I visualized this sudden blast as the angel is folding his wings to adapt to his new form. He is also slightly burning the skin and clothes of his host as he arrives to deliver the message from God.
Ghosts on the Hill
(Giclee on Canvas, September 2020 Original. 38 x 50.5") Since its birth after the Mexican-American war of 1846, San Francisco has been through two major fires, a bubonic plague (1900-1904), and several major earthquakes. With so much destruction, I was surprised to find that "The City" has only one major cemetery. After researching the biggest natural disaster where over 3000 people were killed (1906 earthquake), I found that many of the bodies were promptly buried in major parks or open land throughout the city. A firsthand account of personal stories from survivors, rescuers, and eyewitnesses paints a grim image of a city of several thousands of people potentially still buried in its post-disaster foundations: “Whenever a body was found it was buried immediately without any formality whatever and, as these burials were made at widely separated parts of the city by different bodies of searchers, who did not even make a prompt report to headquarters, considerable confusion resulted in estimating the number of casualties and exaggerated reports resulted.” At the time, the official death toll was at 500 people buried but the modern account puts it at approximately 3000. This means potentially more than 2500 people are still buried and scattered throughout modern day San Francisco. In this painting, I wanted to visualize the organic growth and resilience of such a majestic city like San Francisco and how the unpredictable disasters it’s faced in its 173 year history is often altered by time and aggressive real estate. Heavy influences were on historic pictures, earthquake survival stories, and the theme of orange and pink hues painted on buildings throughout the city.
(September 2019 Giclee on Canvas Original. 60 x 40") I went to Fort Worth Texas to visit the Kimbell art museum and stumbled upon this beautiful courtyard with Aristide Maillol’s sculpture entitled, “Air” (1938). As I looked through the windows of the museum and into the enclosure, I became enamored with the soft blue light shining from above the canopy and seeming to dissolve into the museum. In this painting, I wanted to visualize the exchange between nature and art. The vitality of the art inside the museum and the serenity of the nature (enclosed) needed to be shown.
Birth of An Idea
(Giclee on Aluminum (1/8"), September 2018 Original. 60 x 30") Birth of an Idea was created and submitted for an art competition in the summer of 2018. The goal of the competition was to create an artistic interpretation of the concept, "body, mind, and soul." In this painting, I took and altered a photo of the Barton Creek trail I was on while on a morning hike in Austin. I began smearing all the colors in the image to spontaneously generate this painting. At the time, I wanted to find the source of an idea and wondered what it might look like as it was being introduced to the cerebrum. The moment captured signifies the snapshot moment right before an idea is introduced to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The light at the top is symbolic of a raw idea and the crushing middle gap below is the fissure where it will be absorbed into the body.
Reflections on a Currant Sunset
(Giclee on canvas, October 2019 Original. 80 x 53") On one of the first mornings after trading in my car for a bicycle, I was crossing the 1st street bridge in Austin, TX to find rowers from the nearby Austin Rowing Club splashing syncopated waves across the surface of Lady Bird Lake. In this painting, I wanted to paint the reflective nature of the water as the sun was setting over the horizon. The experience of being on a bicycle instead of on the road began to force a change in my perspective on commuting and to help me see the city of Austin around me in a new way.