In your biography you introduce yourself as a self-taught artist. How and when did you
« fell in love » with painting and reached such a level?
A bit more about your personal background?
Within the first grade of school I was diagnosed to have a severe learning disability, and it was right around that same time that I began to take notice of the magic of what a crayon was able to do on paper. I found drawing to be a great escape for me. My school life was about to get really frustrating for the next 11 years of my life and making art to escape was something I really enjoyed. All through my childhood I dabbled and tried out all kinds of mediums. After graduating high school I gave art college a shot but I don’t know. It just didn’t work for me. I don’t know if it was because of the hell I had just experienced in my previous education environment or if I just was not feeling what college had to offer at that time. So, I dropped out of art school after one year. Looking back I can see it as the best move and the worst move I ever made. It wasn’t until 1995 that a good artist friend of mine Christopher Bordenca reminded me what can be done with paint. I thank Chris all the time in my thoughts for getting me back into painting. Also around that time I began to find all these oil paintings my dad did back in his day of portraits of my mom, still life’s and other subjects that I was blown away by and I got so inspired by seeing them that I wanted to paint more and more and just became hooked to doing it.
Childhood is omnipresent in your work, it’s the first thing that comes to mind while
looking at your work, would you mind explaining this aspect of your work?
Childhood is something I really hold dear to me. It’s the only time in life that we remain so pure. It’s the time before we get so damage by all the fear, rules, and hate in the world. When we are children we are given the freedom to make believe, have imaginations and most of all to be able to really dream. It seems so many people allow there imagination to die as they grow older. I feel we all need to keep that child alive inside all of us. Far too many people make the choice to give up and “grow up” and dreams shouldn’t just be something to have when you’re asleep.
Surrealism is also a strong characteristic of your paintings, from Dali to Lewis
Carroll, a word about your inspirations?
I have always been inspired by fairy tales like Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel, The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb, and Alice In Wonderland to name a few. There are so many great ones out there and much of my work is inspired by all of these great stories that I grew up on. I also get lots of inspiration from things of old that have a sense of history about them.
Red, blue, yellow? the colors you use are very bright but in a « dark way », could you
tell me a bit about the way you work on colors?
Some of the subject matter I deal with sometimes can be perhaps a little unsettling or can be viewed as uncomfortable. By using brighter colors I find it has more of the ability to pull the viewer in to the image without being distracted by the obvious. Maybe its also because I never did to well in color theory classes haha
The colors, childhood, surrealism, ? all those elements give both a futuristic and
nostalgic feeling to you universe, making it timeless, how do you look at it?
It’s a getaway and a timeless place for me. A world where characters are working through things to resolve problems. For the most part it’s always personal. The world I create is relating to something in my life or something that is happening in the world/news it’s not always right up in the open for the viewer but it’s there in undertones and I try to get the feelings across.
Your characters often seem to be blind, or have very clear eyes. What about this
I never thought of the clear eyes as being blindness. I was always mesmerized as a kid by the vampire and zombie movies I watched where their eyes had that creepy hypnotic look to them. So it was something I did one day to a painting I was working on and I really liked the way it looked so it just became something I started doing.
Religion is a recurrent theme in your work, how do you explain it?
I was brought up on the catholic religion. My mother promised me if I did my conformation that after she would leave me alone, ha-ha. So, that meant no more getting dragged to church on Sundays and I knew it would make her really happy so I did it for her and my mom kept her word and she let me do my own thing after it was all said and done. She’s awesome like that. Over the years I’ve checked out all types of religions not that I was trying to find one that best suited me, I am just fascinated by them and what people do for them. For centuries people have killed and created wars over religion and we are still doing it today, that is some sad stuff. So, Out of all the religions I’ve look at over the years the Catholic one is the one that I find most intriguing. There is just so much nightmare horrifying stuff that has happened over the years in that religion. Then there is their ritual of drinking the blood of Christ and eating the body of Christ…. Some crazy dark shit there. I remember as a kid not understanding how come if this is such a loving God how come we were suppose to fear him so much. I also never got why we needed all of these buildings and objects to worship and it’s just odd to see symbols of capital punishment made into trinkets around Catholics’ necks. One has to wonder what if Jesus was killed in the electric chair? Would they all be wearing and worship electric chairs? Honestly, I couldn’t care less what people believe. I can respect anyone attempting to do what’s good for them but I gotta say I find Catholicism to be very dark and zombie like so it makes for an interesting subject to paint on.
Could you tell me more about your recent series? Sheep Will Follow??
“Sheep Will Follow” series began with the painting the Messenger. The purpose of that painting is the ending of something so there can be a new beginning. All the paintings that followed felt like this quest to find this new beginning place. I just felt that in the end the show needed to be title “Sheep Will Follow” The new paintings were following their path.
You did the artwork of the band Korn?s last album ?See You On The Other Side?. Could
you tell me about this collaboration?
Jonathan contacted me about throwing some concepts and drawings his way for the album I did about four or five drawings before he gave me this lyric from one of the songs “Seen It All” ... “I'm just a child with a tear in his eyes and I'm holding this gift that is broken”. By the next drawing we nailed it and from there on everything else just took off. I did a total of 11 paintings for the deluxe edition as well as all the layout and design for both the deluxe and standard version of the album. It was a good time. Those guys are good people.
Korn?s singer Jonathan Davis is known to have been ?marked? a lot by his childhood,
is it one of the reasons why he chose you work to illustrate his album?
I don’t think that was necessarily it. Jonathan and I are just interested in a lot of the same kinds of things and it comes out in my work as well as his. My work at the time was just fitting into the same concept that they where doing with “See You On The Other Side” so I think in the end it just felt right to have me involved.
Is music an inspiration for you?
Yes very much so. I listen to music constantly and I listen to all types of music. It just depends on what I am feeling at the moment as to what I’ll listen to.
I don?t think it?s a secret for anyone, you share you life with the model Aprella, is she a muse for you? Did she changed your artistic vision in a way or another?
Yes Aprella is my muse but, I do have to share her as a muse with a number of other artists out there. People love painting her (of course, how could they not?). Aprella has definitely helped me in so many different ways with my work and in life. She helps me to look at things in ways I didn’t see before. My studio is in our home so she gets to see the whole process start to finish. She’s very in tune to what I am doing and she will point out objects in the work at the very beginning and know what that object represents, its pretty cool. I am so very lucky to have Aprella in my life.
Your work is often exhibited in the US, any European plans for the future?
Yes I do. I will be having a solo show at Strychnin gallery in Berlin Germany September 2007
More about your current projects?
At the moment I am focusing on my upcoming solo show. Each painting takes me months to do so I am always painting. After my Berlin show I will be going back out to Los Angeles, CA to do another show with the Corey Helford Gallery. It should open around the end of 2008 or early 2009.
If you were?
A book - Wizard of Oz
A weapon - catapult
An animal - giraffe
A noise – a wrecking ball falling on a feather bed
A song – Change - Blind Melon
A city - Prague
A quote - “Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” - Jim Henson
A drink – coffee