While in art school you were once told you would “never be taken seriously.” How did that statement affect you and your work?
It was crushing. It took me many years to feel like they might be wrong. I wanted to give up when I heard that. I still hear those voices in my head. The truth is that it is very, very hard to be taken seriously by the art world. They were just trying to save me some pain, I’m sure. At some point it became a motivating factor for me, though. I’m very determined to be taken seriously, but to not compromise my personal vision of what my art will be. It’s tricky and often confusing to deal with people’s ideas of what is good, bad, important, etc. If you can truly take yourself seriously you are most of the way there. That’s taken a long time and a lot of work.
How do you see your work fitting into art today?
I’m always trying to make sense out of that. The bottom line that I have come to is that it is not up to me to figure out how and where it will fit. I can only be in charge of making my work and making it as honest and good as I can. If I do it well it will end up in a good place.
Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations?
Matta, as I said before. He was a big one. He created a world in his work that felt alien and natural at the same time. I want to do the same thing. Lately, I’ve been looking at a lot of tribal masks and folk art, and I’m still reading about American history pretty regularly.
Whose art do you own?
Lots of Ryden, Kaws, Mary Blair. Some really nice mid-century paintings by people that never really hit it big. I’m always trading with friends. Just got a nice Cupco sculpture called Terry Richardson’s Flayed Head. Pretty self-explanatory.