The following are answers to questions I've been asked about regarding my work by collectors, jurors, a few journalists and curators.
What "makes you tick" as a painter?
That's a tough question. Actually, I've wondered about it myself. Perhaps it started because I'm quiet, shyish or, guess I can say somewhat of a Wall Flower - and I used it as a way to express myself or put myself out there. Now, it's much more than that, painting has become who I am; it's what I love to do because it injects enthusiasm, meaning, and profound pleasure into my day to day life.
What got you started? When did you know how important it would be to you?
I don't recall any noteworthy drawing I did as a kid or any real interest in art until I applied (no recollection of why) and was accepted to Brooklyn Technical High School (a prep school for careers in Engineering and Architecture) where I chose to major in Architecture (also, no recollection of why) and, I loved it.
However, the love affair ended when my application to Pratt Institute (at the time the only local college offering a major in Architecture that we could afford) was rejected. So, though I continued to sketch and study art, my life was consumed for many years with military service and a business career. And, I didn't start painting seriously until the early nineties when I began to realize how important art would be to me going forward.
Your painting style, the genres you bring into play; how did that all develop?
I guess you can say my work has evolved from a blending of my architectural and design training, a penchant I have for the chic of the ordinary, my interest in the fusion of color with shape and form and, the influence that the work of several painters has had in helping me shape and enhance my style.
How would you categorize yourself as a painter?
I'd say I'm a renegade because I'm not a fan of labeling, categorizing and all the other mystique the Art World has established regarding the classification of Art and Artists. I don't pay much attention to it and thus my work - referred to in a review by a prominent Art Publication as "Abstract Realism" often crosses sacred boundaries once considered blasphemous but now - thanks to Mr. Picasso among others - is more in vogue. Some say it holds me back. Well if so, so be it. Having to paint in an environment controlled by rules or a need for cohesion or conformity would greatly inhibit the spontaneity by which my work develops and the pleasure I derive from creating it.
Unlike most painters your work is very diversified so one wonders - where does it come from, where do you get your ideas from?
Initially, it was almost automatic; the ideas poured out of me without much thought. I suppose - subconsciously - I was planning it for years. Now, many ideas for my paintings originate from images I see in newspapers and magazines and, from sketches (doodles I guess you can say) I like to do of grids and architectural structures that I see or imagine. And, many arise from simple, ordinary, every day things I view from life in general.
When an idea takes form what's your process, how does it develop, how do you go about converting it into a painting?
Normally I'll rough sketch it first, on paper and play with it for awhile (possibly adding some color) until I'm confident there's a painting there. Then, I'll work out dimension and lay it out on a canvas and add a first round of painted color. This becomes a starting point for the painting which - to a degree - will guide me through it's completion whether it involves just a bit of fine-tuning or, extensive color and or format modifications.
Tell me about your Studio and how you like it set up.
Most important is space because I like to work on large canvases, on several paintings simultaneously and, I'm not good at putting things away. Next is lighting - but that has become easy because of the fabulous artificial lighting now available. And, also very important is privacy; I much prefer working privately and not sharing my work until it's completed. I moved just a few months ago and I'm still in process of setting up my newest studio. It's in a huge basement and, I'll be doing a separate post about it shortly.
How do you work, what materials do you use, what's your painting process?
I complete most paintings on canvas with acrylics using hard edged application techniques. And, I prefer to work on several paintings simultaneously to allow pause for study, color choices and fine-tuning. At times, I also work with collage, relief, assemblage and other formats that may involve the use of enamels, oils, board, plaster, styrofoam as well as other media and grounds.
Most of the work exhibited on the site took form through the process described above and with special emphasis on certain attributes that have been expressed about my paintings including: an intuitive use of color, color in liaison with shape and form and, a penchant for blending a bit of realism within my abstract compositions.
You've been painting seriously since the early 1990s so, what's gone on with your painting since then? And, what impact has it had on your life?
For several years it was part time and it took a few years to develop an agenda, a style and to build an inventory and to just get it all together. So, around 1993, I began showing my work and, since than, it's appeared in numerous state, national, and international juried shows and, at one and two person gallery shows in New Jersey and, more recently, in the New York City Chelsea Art District. Both of my Chelsea Gallery shows were reviewed by Gallery & Studio Magazine. You can read these reviews by clicking on the links below:
"Boxes" (renamed "Ode to the Box" by the reviewer)
"Ordinary Things" (referred to as "Abstract Realism" by the reviewer)
Painting has had an enormous impact on my life. Next to family, it consumes me, it's who I am, what I do and, what I love to do. The positive feedback and accolades I've received and the new relationships it's brought about has been very inspiring and just getting to feel like a painter and being part of that community is very special to me.
And, most recently, what gave me the biggest kick was - after my 2nd Chelsea Gallery show - being invited to Artist Membership at the New York Museum of Modern Art - in my view the Mecca of Contemporary Visual Art. Of course, when they decide to add a painting or two of mine to their collection, that will really be special.
Your website, it's different than most artist's sites. Who designed it? What was the rationale behind it's design? What are your goals for the site?
The site was built by professionals but, it's concept and manner of presentation is my design. The rational behind the design is to provide visitors a sense of who I am as a painter and to offer them insight into the essence of the paintings on view.
My goal for the site is to be able to display my work on an intuitive easy to navigate platform and provide a grasp of it's soul for visitors to contemplate, critique and the insight they will need should they consider adding it to their collection.
Any regrets, things you'd do different if you could?
Sure, one big one; maybe you can guess it. It's that I allowed a rejection from a college - that to this day I could never understand - change my direction from what I should have done and who I should have been from the onset. It was a great time in New York for the "renegade painter" - i.e. Warhol, John's, Pollack to name a few and, who knows, perhaps I could have been part of it???