hDL Interview

Your paintings tend to be very large in size. What is the reason for that?

Most of my paintings are larger in scale because I like the feeling of the figures in my paintings being almost life-size. It makes them more real to me, like if they wanted to they could walk out of the painting. At the same time, there is an intimacy in standing close to look at a painting and almost being swallowed by it. I also enjoy the physicality of painting. I’m able to use my whole body while painting on a large canvas.

…and what is so special in the human face for you?

I think more than anything else in the world, the human face expresses the most emotion, complexity, mystery, and connection to us as human beings. Everyone is a unique version of the human spirit. I have always liked to watch people – what they do, how they express themselves and react to different situations, what they look like in motion and in stillness. Perhaps it started with a desire to discover myself more and then branched out into learning about others and truly seeing them and seeing parts of myself in them.

What inspires you creatively; where do you get your ideas?

Music is definitely a huge inspiration for me. I am also inspired by different cultures and belief systems. Native Americans have always held a special place for me and influence my art. Anything can be inspiring really. It could be a person’s energy or a look or a place or even a story I hear. Most often it’s just fragments of the world waiting around to be captured and expressed in my own unique way. My eyes and ears are always open to something mind and soul awakening or emotionally arousing.

What symbolizes your work the most?

When I am sketching and thinking about new ideas for paintings thoughts of life and death, the unknown, spirit, truth, memory, and nature spring forth, but ultimately it’s about creating something beautiful, something that captures a feeling or an imagined moment in time.

When I see your work, I feel that there is something naive on one hand and sometimes sad on the other hand. Do you feel a contradiction about it?

Yes, I can feel an innocence and sadness to the portraits I paint. I have always felt a beauty and power in sadness. I also like the figures in my paintings to embody the qualities of an old soul. Old souls are young and new to the world but have a mature wisdom or other-worldly knowledge.

You work with a lot of colors – is there a basic structure to all of your images?

My process continues to evolve and grow the more I create and experiment but I have found myself developing a way of working that has become more consistent over time. My paintings always begin with a highly detailed underdrawing that I finish as if it were a separate piece. I then paint on top of the completed drawing. Painting has always been experimental or intuitive with me and so I never know what I’m doing when it comes time to add color. I just do what feels right and that has resulted in a sort of “wash” technique where I apply a layer of paint that is sometimes thinned out, then wiped away to achieve a watercolor look. With oils, the result is melted and fluid; with acrylics, there is more of a layered, rougher effect due to the nature of each medium. I usually build up the paint in many thin layers and then work on the finer details of the painting like hair strands and eyes.

What would you say keeps you going on in the world of art? From where do you get the motivation?

The main thing that keeps me going is a strong belief that it’s possible to be successful working for myself. There’s evidence everywhere of everyday people and some quite extraordinary people who are able to support themselves through various art forms. I’m so passionate about what I do and I pour myself into my work completely. It’s the only way I know how to be true to myself. That feeling of dedication, fulfillment, and enjoyment for my art is what I feel will bring me the greater success I’m striving towards. I do this because I love it and what I aspire for is to reach out and impact viewers of my work, making sure that those who see my paintings see something that enriches their experience. Those things have allowed me to go forward, along with the esteem of all those who admire my work.

What is your vision of today's art?

I think today’s art is very freeing. With the expansion of the internet people are able to make up their own mind as to what art they like. It’s not chosen for them anymore so artists aren’t necessarily confined to a certain style or genre. The traditional rules are breaking down and it’s very exciting.

How much of your time is devoted to painting?

I usually work at least 10 hours a day on art… sometimes I’m networking or replying to messages or filling out interviews, other times I’m drawing and painting nonstop for days, and sometimes I’m just feeding my brain with inspiring music, books, images, and films. I’m kind of addicted to art. I think about art almost 95% of each day.

Have you ever been to Israel before?

No, I haven’t but I would love to visit one day.

Who are your artistic heroes?

Some of the great masters include Leonardo DaVinci, Ingres, and Jan Van Eyck. Other influences include Klimt, Ralph Steadman, and Jenny Saville to name a few. I am drawn to artists who take risks and allow themselves to be fearless in the expression of their work.

Do you have a special hobby besides art?

Yes, I’ve always loved music. As a teenager, I taught myself how to play the guitar and was the lead singer in a couple of bands. Music and art complement one another well but once I started to get more serious about my career as an artist, I didn’t have as much time to devote to music. But I still enjoy playing the guitar, singing, and sometimes recording in my free time. Other than art and music, I enjoy hiking and other activities that involve spending time in nature.

Tell me about the videos that you create and do you consider it as an art?

The art videos are a lot of fun. I enjoy watching the progress of the painting and I think other people do too. I try to show my sense of humor and just have a good time. I enjoy what I do and I want others to see that. I also like having a record of what I’m doing at any given point of time in my life. It allows me to look at the painting in a new way and learn more about myself. Making the videos does require a bit of skill and creativity but I don’t necessarily view it as an art. I think it is just another way of delving deeper into the process of a painting and hopefully inspire others or allow them to view art in a new and exciting way.