An Abridged Study of What Informs My Work.

• I write things down every day. So do you. The things I write down probably aren’t very different from the things you write down: to do lists, grocery lists, my name, notes about a moment, thoughts, an artist that makes me think- the things I don’t want to forget. These things I write I write for my future-self so that I’m able to recall or re-create an experience, a memory, or a list. When I’m reviewing this writing, it is almost as if I am visiting another person whose only manifestation is through a record of his actions. The record becomes the person. This idea is fascinating to me.
• Walking through museums, I admire the time-tested tradition of formal portraiture: the lighting on the face, the seeming accuracy with which the artist captured another person in two simple dimensions and only an implied sense of depth. For all that fascination though, once I enter the abstract expressionist room, I am moved in ways that other art can’t seem to do. It’s more than mere admiration. It’s feeling like home. It’s finally identifying with the work. It is awe. I feel that I learn more about an abstract expressionist in one painting than I do gazing into a hundred glazed portraits of royalty, middle-class merchants and military men.
• Maps tell us everything about an area we might need to know, factually. They may not go on about the character of a city or its people even though the placement and pacing of its streets and its population might help. Logically, though a person can go there and know exactly where he is. This is one step closer to the community than he was before the map.
• When small things are enlarged beyond their normal scale, we begin to notice things about them that the simplicity of shape couldn’t tell us. By examining small things in a grand scale, we can evaluate them in terms usually associated with people or buildings or furniture. The tittle just above an “I” becomes something entirely different – a sun behind a skyline.
• A walk through any city (or town, for that matter) will put you in front of a hundred markings left by graffitists, by cars, by birds. Some intentional, others not. Every mark though is a layer that, if inspected closely enough, will tell you something about that place, specifically. Where these marks are tells us as much about the marker as what the mark actually is. A dented guardrail was not a parallel parking incident. An intervention on a billboard was not the drunken folly of a few teenagers.
• The documents that outline the very fundamentals of our society are as much cultural artifact as legal groundwork. Pre-Guttenberg Bibles, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and any number of hand-written guidelines for civilized living act as records of the people who wrote them, the times in which they lived and the sculpting effect they have had on the daily lives of generations to follow. Looking at these surprising feats of humanity can help us better understand our own cultural context and in turn, can help us become better artists.
• Commercial printing and early graphic design are outstanding inspirations for fundamental design principles and for future work. Hand-crafted work has a soul that the contrived drivel we see on television and in magazines seldom approaches. Work with computers is essential for our digital minds, but one must translate and transpose between the analog and digital worlds for anything human to come of it.

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