Artist's Statement
[From my show at Weinstein Gallery, 2003]


My primary concern is with subject. Everything revolves around choice of subject for me. I begin every painting with the search for the perfect model, for she will represent my subject. Without her I have no inspiration, and I have no painting. I have never been able to use professional models, or the models that are offered at the schools. I have to pay attention wherever I go: the bookstore, the market, the coffeeshop, the drugstore. You never know when your next great inspiration is going to walk by. I keep my portfolio at hand at all times—I have to prove I am an artist. Sometimes it takes months—with one important painting it took ten years to find the right models. But I can wait.

Once my subject is in mind and my models have been found, I can begin. But still, the models determine the schedule. Since they are not professionals, I must work around their calendars—school, jobs, band practice. But it is worth it. They are natural, they do not pose. They have real emotions. Not actors or models emotions, but their very own emotions. It is these I use. I don't force them into situations, or suggest poses. I watch. I see what they do. Then I think of a painting that can capture that. You may think this is backwards. Topsy-turvy. But Rodin said, "No, I do not take directions from my models; I take direction from nature."

I have a model closet but I don't like to use it. I prefer nudes. Modern clothes are mostly unpicturesque, and period clothes often look false. But the nude body is both beautiful and emotional, without deception or trumpery. For the same reason I avoid cluttered backgrounds—flowers, patterns, gratuitous objects. I want the viewer to concentrate on the figure, with no distractions.

I rarely paint multifigural works. My concern is not with the relationship between figures, but with the relationship of the viewer and the painting. The emotion should not flow from figure to figure, but from canvas to viewer. You, like me, are voyeur. Art gives you this freedom.

There is no deflection in my work—no politics, no allegory, no storyline (usually). Nothing clever is ever being done. I don't want you to think. Your frontal lobes should shut down; you should enter a dreamstate. To use a modern term, your critical distance should be zero. My art is not about analysis, it is about synthesis.

Now that you have read this, forget it completely. Empty your mind of facts. Swim into the elf-lit room and say nothing to anyone, not even yourself. Not until you have woken up.