I have always been the creative person. I remember family trips to my aunt's house in Vermont where she owns a pottery studio in creating sculptures of anything that came to mind, one year was a dragon another year I Thanksgiving feast. These sculptures are never more than 10 inches across so a lot of fine detail work which always amused my mom because I have large hands. My parents always pushed us to do numerous extracurricular activities but never said we had to do any one activity over another; sports, music, art, debate, science – as long as there was something more than the required classes, my parents we open to us trying it.
In middle school I started playing the upright bass and that remained a large part of my life until many years later. I played in symphonies, jazz bands, ensembles, and ended my music career in a rock band The Breaktone. I was fortunate enough play a plethora of venues from small restaurants to the largest stage, Carnegie Hall. In college I studied mechanical engineering but did not continue with my music minor which I stopped in sophomore year. The balance of technical and artistic came to a head when I had to decide between continuing with The Breaktone or pursuing engineering as a career. I ended up taking a job in Tulsa OK in 2013 which was the first time I left my hometown of Albuquerque NM. Over the years of my engineering career, most of the time was spent in what I view is the American dilemma. We work because we think we have to and we stay in jobs that we don't really like in order to buy the things we don't
really want to save face for people we don't really care about. I still debate with myself whether I would enjoy working at a different company where I agreed more with the values of the company and the final product that was being created or if a “nontraditional” lifestyle is more what I desire.
I started painting in 2014 when my then wife bought me an easel and some paints because I had been talking about jumping over to painting as my creative outlet. I started with random shapes and forms without much intentionality behind the meaning of the brush strokes.
The first series where I tried to capture a memory or feeling were pieces I did referencing sketches I make throughout college and at work. These sketches we are always done pen in the columns of my notebook or on paper handed out at meetings. They were comprised of random shapes, formed around each other, moving outward in an ever-growing mass. This habit I got from my mom used to scribble on any available paper while on phone calls, I remember sitting at the dining room table and watching her scribble away, nothing really in particular, sometimes notes, sometimes just moving her hand. I think this is one of the more externally visible imprints my mom left about me, but most of who I am today I attribute to her.
For me, the turning point from just creating art to contemplating the message behind the art was my divorce, as I had a very sudden desire to convey the emotions and thoughts that was so persistently and painfully present in my day-to-day. The first piece that really captured that period in my life, “The Parting” hung on my wall that's kind of this constant reminder
of the pain of separation but the hope of redemption and second chances. As I contemplated more and more how to convey my thoughts and feelings I started using the form I now call Soulyps. Soulyps, a combination of soul and polyp, are the muses of my emotional experiences and my artwork. The shape of each Soulyp is similar, a circular body with three tentacles, and they resemble octopi which is a common observation I hear. This shape came about kind of by accident, but I have fallen in love with the forms.
Soulyps, a combination of soul and polyp, are the muses of my emotional experiences and my artwork. The shape of each Soulyp is similar, a circular body with three tentacles, and they resemble octopi which is a common observation I hear. This shape came about kind of by accident, but I have fallen in love with the forms.
When I first started painting, I wanted to paint an orb of light being held out to the viewer in a detached hand. This literal representation of offering a piece of my soul to the viewer is what I really wish to convey with my art, so the concept has not left but the shape has changed through iteration. When I was painting my first Soulyp, I started with just an orb and made it dripping with smaller shapes. While the glowing aspect was not incorporated, the shape seemed alive. As I developed the idea further, I came to a more solid shape and with three appendages. I like the challenge of finding how to convey emotions such as loss, love, self-loathing, and joy and seeing how Soulyps’ abstractness allows these expressions. For instance, my pieces “Fulfilled” and “Needed Self Destruction” both feature two Soulyps wrapped around each other, but they offer two very different emotional experiences. “Fulfilled” shows a tender embrace with love and closeness being the driving emotions while “Needed Self Destruction” has one Soulyp strangling the other and is a violent interpretation of personal change. Overall, Soulyps express the human experience through the abstract.