I think the crux of my art practice relies on a couple of axioms I’ve cobbled together. I think the primary axiom is a belief in having a material fulfillment layer to the concepts that drive my art practice. Literally, I need to make things. It’s not enough for me to have a sort of conceptual practice, which is something I believe my art practice incorporates. The formal material decisions I make when I’m creating sculptures flows from the concepts. And back again. And I think that’s maybe the cornerstone of my practice. Case in point, I don’t consider myself a painter, even though I’ve painted a lot this last year and a half. I’ve made and used all kinds of materials in my artwork. And I think the mutability and decentralized nature of my medium works with the abstract thoughts they are trying to funnel. It just does. I love making things with my hands. I also love to think. And learn. And grow. And I love to write incomplete sentences…
The second axiom I think revolves around a level of personal responsibility to what I’m doing. In other words, I’m well aware of the fact that the only person I can control is myself. The only person I can change is myself. There’s this free will aspect to it, I guess. The work that I create revolves around a sort of somatic therapy perspective. And my engagement with materials and abstract ways of thinking has its origins in this approach. It can be seen as self-centered. And it might be. But the great thing about what I do and the materials I use is that it’s not exclusive. Most of the materials I use can be found at Home Depot. Most of the skills I have can be picked up relatively quickly. Anybody can do it. I’ve learned a lot by just watching youtube videos. If anything, I believe that part of what I like about my artwork, is the idea that somebody might look at one of my sculptures and think “I can do that.” And they probably could. And nothing would make me happier than if somebody actually went out and tried. The benefit of creating art or just being engaged in a creative endeavor, whatever it might be is something that might not be quantifiable by science. But I know what I feel when I’m making art. I know what I feel when I look at art. And I know what I feel like when I talk about art. I feel happy. Because that’s everything to me. Not being happy, necessarily. Creating is everything. Creating something out of nothing and taking a step back and saying to yourself “I made that.” It’s one of the greatest joys of my life. To create. To grow. And to learn.
The third axiom is that I do not believe that there needs to be a demonstrable change in the world that arises as a direct result of my artworks. (See Axiom Two) The effect or change is occurring within the only context I can control. And that’s within myself. Every time I create a new artwork I feel like I’m growing. I feel like I’m confronting my past and growing through the material and conceptual investigations I’m deeply engaged in exploring. And since my art practice is centered on my own family history I feel like I’m able to sometimes understand my family and my ancestors plainly.
Axiom #4: The generational trauma that arises directly as a result of Colonialism and the innumerable atrocities that were committed is not something to be taken lightly. There’s a mountain of bones on which nations have built their empires. America is no exception. And I’m here to never forget that. I believe that’s part of the role I’ve chosen my artwork to occupy. I’m here to say “What about the bones?” Not as an accusation. But as a fact that needs to be dealt with. Presidents change. Cabinet members change. But that mountain of bones populated with the bones of my ancestors and millions of people around the world who are dealing with this generational trauma, is still there. It is not going anywhere. I’m here to never forget that. I refuse to get over that fact. I refuse to look past it. Because unless you start from the beginning, there is no healing.
The fifth axiom revolves around the unshakeable belief that I am engaged in a serious endeavor but their needs to be this playfulness present also. And since I am engaged in a serious endeavor everything that surrounds it or emanates from art is approached with a level of dedication and passion that is required of such a perspective. While I can say, I don’t play at art. Simultaneously, I mean I do, that’s actually a lot of what I do. But that playfulness can be thought of similar to the airplane noises a parent creates, when they are trying to get their baby to eat the super nutritious and physically beneficial Carrot Sweet Potato Pea Gerber baby food. A baby needs nutrition. It needs sustenance. It’s vital for their growth. It’s something to be taken seriously. But sometimes you also gotta make those airplane or choo-choo train sound effects to convince the baby to eat the nutritious food it needs to grow.
I guess this leads me back to why I started this blog in the first place. I need to grow. I think everything grows. Or it wilts. I don’t plan on being on social media to promote my artwork. I honestly think that any serious endeavor never crosses over to entertainment. Social media is entertainment. And what I’m doing isn’t entertainment. It’s not meant to entertain. It’s not meant to be consumed through Instagram posts or Retweets. So, I’ve decided that this website and blog is the only public facing apparatus that I’ll employ in service of the artwork I’m creating. If at any point in the future I feel like this website or blog is somehow preventing me from engaging in the art I’m making, than this will have to go too. And if I continue this blog, and so far I feel like I will. You’ll see me grow. Hopefully. You’ll see me develop these ideas.
There’s no secret. No mystery to what I’m doing. There’s no duplicitousness at work here. There’s a certain guilelessness that I hope to hold on too as I continue on in higher education. (I’m currently working towards an MFA in Fine Art.) I honestly don’t know I would even know where to begin if I wanted to cultivate a certain cunningness or deceitfulness. And I’m positive it might serve to my detriment in the ruthless Fine Art Market. But I don’t care. I’m here for that art. I’m here for the growth. If at any point, you see an artwork on my website and feel or think “I could do that.” Do it. And hopefully you’ll open up a whole new universe for personal growth and happiness. And sometimes you just make some really cool looking stuff. Do it.