Q: How did this series of drawings begin?
A: I always carry sketchbooks with me everywhere I go. I think of them as my external hard-drive. Sometimes I use them for observational drawing – of people on the subway, insects, rocks, anything in front of me – and sometimes I use them to work through ideas or problems within my paintings. Over the past five years, a new vocabulary began to emerge. The imagery became more concrete and disturbing, starting with drawings I made of smoke columns rising from the Twin Towers. The subjects I found myself drawing seemed to demand a larger page. And at a certain point, I realized I had a body of work that wanted to be shown.
Q: How is drawing different from painting for you?
A: Drawing, for me, is a private activity. Drawing has always been a means to carve out new terrain for myself in an uninhibited way. Anything goes in the sketchbooks, and that makes them very exciting and sacred to me.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of being an artist?
A: The hardest part for me is persevering through the doldrums. I mean you get to a point creatively when you know you need to push your work further, and you don’t know how, so you just keep working and trusting in the process, and allow yourself to make terrifically horrible work and not be attached to any particular outcome. I really love seeing the awkward work of masters, like some of the early Van Gogh drawings. It makes the whole endeavor seem more possible.
Q: What’s easier: starting a painting or drawing, or finishing it?
A: Starting is the fun part. I find it easy to dive into a blank surface and begin to agitate it. Those first marks can be so crisp and clear. And then it feels like any mark on top of them will diminish them, so
sometimes I’m a slave to the very first gesture I make. Other times it feels great to just walk through the sandcastle and start over on top of the ruins. If it doesn’t get muddy, it has to get richer – that is
the risk and the payoff.
Q: Why is most of the work in this show untitled?
A: I want to keep possibilities for different readings as open as possible. I hope the imagery speaks for itself.