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I'm truly grateful for this opportunity. Also, I do feel this is the greatest exhibition of my drawings. I created a ink drawing called "North Korea" that became a digital drawing called "Time". Soon after "Time" was created, ArtonFashion transformed it into a wearable work of art. It is truly a statement piece! What I find most amazing about this work of art, The Ambassador wore it in support of an American artist trying to make a difference. My ink and digital drawings are political statements and I'm honored to have the Ambassador's support!
Your use of texture is something that stands out for us as viewers of your work. Would you say this is an important part of making your art?
When I began studying art, I would spent a good amount of time studying the paintings of Anselm Kiefer. I was in awe of the textual environment he would create. It was his use of materials, symbolic imagery, and the monumental size of his works that truly inspired me to create paintings in a similar fashion. Prophesy (5’ x 6.5’) is one of the first paintings I created. It was here that I began to create textual environments and use imagery to pull in the viewer. As I continued developing as an artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I reconnected with the ink drawings I made in a travel journal while studying abroad. It was Karl Wirsum who encouraged me to explore my ink drawings and the individual style I was creating. I wanted my drawings to be equally as textual as my paintings and I feel I have accomplished that. Texture allows me to create movement within my work therefore it is a very important part of my process.
Prophesy (5’ x 6.5’)
What was your inspiration for making Time?
I was watching a documentary about Leonardo Da Vinci and the mirror images he was creating within his paintings. I found this idea fascinating and wanted to explore this myself. At the time, I had just bought a drawing tablet with the idea of exploring the digital art world. I wanted my digital work to have the same textual feel as my ink drawings and paintings. I began to mirror image my ink drawing series and I noticed some really interesting forms were developing. “Time” is one of the first digital drawings I developed from an ink drawing (“North Korea”). Once I mirrored imaged “North Korea” I saw an hour glass with a clock-like pattern around it. I also noticed Roman Numerals within the center of the piece and I instantly knew what to title this work. After I mirror image an ink drawing, I go in digitally and draw over it. All of my digital drawings originate from an image of an ink drawing.
“Time” can have many different meanings, depending on the viewer. For me, it’s a continuation of my drawing about North Korea. When I create a drawing, I never have a set image or idea in mind. Once a drawing is finished, I begin to analyze it and then title it. Sometimes it is a political work and other times it is from a personal experience.
In your opinion, which work are you most proud of?
I’m proud of all my works. I’m always learning and growing as an artist. If I had to pick, it would always be whatever I’m working on at the time.
What do you think of collaborating with a fashion brand?
When I was first contacted by Art on Fashion, I was very excited. This collaboration came at a perfect time for me and the fact you chose to use one of my digital drawings was fantastic. Not only do I find the imagery of my digital drawings interesting, but I find that I am creating artwork that doesn’t exist in the real world. My digital drawings are virtual works of art and I’ve been having a long debate on how I wanted to approach showing them.
The more I began to think about this, the more I began to question the importance of the material and the image. I started experimenting with printing my digital drawings on everyday commercial objects such as, shower curtains, mugs, wallets, bags, t-shirts and so on. For me, the question became, does the image I create lose value due to the material on which it is printed? When I received your request to use my drawing “Time” as a textile, I thought that it seemed to be the perfect development for this drawing.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or shows you would like to tell us about?
This is a question I receive often and many are surprised at my answer. At this time, my focus hasn’t been about finding a show or gallery. I’m more interested in creating works of art and selling them within a virtual gallery online. I will leave the exhibitions of my work to the collectors and curators.
What advice would you give to young people who aspire to have their place in the contemporary art world?
Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was spoon fed Andy Warhol. What I have learned from his career is that to be a good artist, you also have to be a good business artist. Having a talent is one thing, but how you sell it is another.
For me, I never gave up on my dream and I continue to work hard, giving everything I can to my career. I follow my own path and in the end, I draw for me.