Where is your studio?
I have a studio at the Downtown Presbyterian Church through their artists residency program. It's so generous and I'm lucky to share the space with some really fine artists.
What are the positives and negatives of having a studio separate from your home?
My working process can be really messy, given the wide array of materials I use - spray paint, pigments, oil paint, adhesives - so I know I wouldn't want to use those things in a shared living space. In general, I think I like the separation of studio-time and home-time, but who knows, I might really enjoy being able to wander into my studio at 3am to ponder something in-progress.
What are your work habits? Do you set hours for yourself or go when inspiration strikes? Do you find it hard to be disciplined?
Like so many artists, I have a full time job during the weekdays, so my studio time is on off-hours, mostly early mornings, lunch breaks, evenings and sometimes weekends. I am a big believer in getting the work done whenever you can, even if some days that means only having 1 or 2 hours in the studio. Entire novels have been written this way! Fortunately, the processes I use allow me to work this way. So if I'm doing, say, a big pour of paint early one morning, it might need a day of dry-time before I can continue with it. Sometimes I think I have adapted my work to accommodate this schedule, and I think that's OK.
What’s inspiring you right now?
Right now I'm reading about the events of the late-sixties/early-seventies, and viewing media related to that, so I'm thinking about the popular imagery of that time. This was the period of my childhood, so anything from that time has so many personal connotations and memories, and I enjoy considering how media acts as an anchor or a lens through which we must view historical documentation. Of course I'm obsessed with the music of that period, and I've become especially interested in the sorts of early video effects that were being used to try and appear psychedelic and compliment the music. Think of the video for Black Sabbath's Paranoid.
What is your process for the new art you’re working on?
My newest work is all made on Mylar, which has a surface I value for its near-perfect smoothness. I'm collecting different types of marks, stains, drips, brush strokes, all on Mylar. I make the final work by collaging all of these elements together onto a new sheet. It's a way of controlling and ordering actions that are at their core spontaneous. To me it feels analogous to working with recorded sound, in that you are capturing performative actions and editing them together in a non-linear way. The final product can be deceptive unless you know what clues to look for, which for me is part of the challenge of looking at a painting, particularly if it is abstract.
What would you change about the Nashville art scene?
It seems like we are in an exciting place where the art-scene is still small enough to know most everybody, but at the same time is starting to feel important in a way that resonates to other places, especially with the rise of social media in the last 10 years. One thing I think everybody would like would like to see is the emergence of a strong collector base within Nashville, and I think we are starting to see a bit more of that.
What resources do you wish there were more of for artists?
I'd like to see more opportunity and assistance for Nashville artists to exhibit their work in other cities and countries. Groups like COOP are taking this on themselves, which is great for everybody, and I think any help that the state or city could provide for traveling exhibitions would be a very welcome development.
What advice do you wish you’d been given when you were starting your career?
I wish that I'd have had more of a chance to visit working artists' studios when I was growing up. Often you aren't given much practical advice as a student and have to figure things out as you go along. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it would have been helpful to have known how to build a decent stretcher when I was just 15 or 16 and really starting to think about being an artist!
Whose art still fills you with awe?
Picasso will always do that for me. Degas. Matisse. Miro. The Post-Impressionists. So many artists of the 20th Century. de Kooning. Michaux. Polke still holds up for me. The Polke retrospective at MoMA was just incredible, and it was a real pleasure seeing it with my son, who was just 8 at the time. In the early 90's I was really inspired the painters Mary Heilmann and Moira Dryer. There are many emerging artists that I follow. There are far too many to name!