The ambiguity is really wonderful in your paintings. It creates a level of mystery leaving the viewers to try and figure out what’s going on. Do you have a specific narrative in mind when you work? How do you come up with these situations?
There’s not necessarily a central message to each painting; I’m more interested in capturing a mood or touching some nerve. Someone once described my work as “haunting” and I found myself very satisfied with that.
I’d say in general my ideas come from a variety of sources, whether it’s artists I’m interested in, films I’ve seen, politics, or news stories I’ve been reading about. Recently I was thinking about a quote from a Russell Banks essay on Gregory Crewdson’s photography, saying it was like “excavating the dark, moldering remnants of Ronald Reagan’s sunlit morning in America.” I liked the way that sounded and have wondered what that might look like. I’ve also been trying to watch more movies by directors like David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, etc.) but I’m pretty bad at binge watching on Netflix. There have been some strange stories in the news too that I can’t seem to un-remember. Like this guy in River Falls, Wisconsin, who murdered his three grade school-aged daughters during a visitation as a way to “get back” at his ex-wife. Or that high school rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, last summer. Pretty gruesome stuff. Admittedly, those are some very extreme examples, but in a way I think they sort of chip away at the collective notions we have of suburban, middle-American life. It makes me wonder about just what goes on inside all of these seemingly pleasant neighborhoods and towns I travel around.
Not that these things directly correlate to the ideas and situations I come up with but I think in some way they make themselves visible. It’s partly a product of the media I consume and things I think about. To an extent perhaps some of my ideas also come from my own experiences too or maybe people I’ve come across, things that have remained in my subconscious.