about The Work
This has always been less about 'art' than a kind of visual literacy, or something the Germans might call a Weltanschauung. The roots of my work borrow from science, philosophy, art and culture, connecting and interweaving them to offer 'other' perspectives on our seeing ways.
My interest lies mainly in connecting visual languages that tend to operate autonomously. Over these years, I’ve watched a tendency for us to define what we see in isolation, revealing more about our own hidden patterns and biases than the unseen influences shaping us. Awakening from these perceptions (which is a slow and persistent process) may sometimes delight or even disturb, but for me, this approach has always been met with a considered eye. We are all creatures of our patterns and biases, and sometimes we forget that to pierce into them requires a spirit of poise and patience. To penetrate these rituals requires some ability to consider how our languages function, as well as how our symbols, human intentions, and the roots of our social orders shape them. Awakening to these expressions (or metaphors) forms the lifeblood of thought, and it fuels the artifacts that we produce—among them is art. Everyday we use the basic tools of story, myth, and symbol, or ‘point and counterpoint’ in a fantastic number of ways to make sense of the complexities around us. Although the answers behind our creations may seem varied, impenetrable, and just out of reach, the greater hope is to push beyond the immediate impressions that recklessly define them. So when it comes to our world and our living patterns in it, do we have any other option but to explore them through the wonders and follies ‘of other’?
Assembling each of these degrees over the course of more than a year — over 15 years — has been a difficult labour, self-financed with thousands of hours of work and using casts and crews numbering in hundreds. Countless people (over 500) were commissioned along the way, while thousands more images, attempts, cast and crew were discarded in the wake of failed attempts. In a landscape that has become immersed in image, my hope is to offer a deeper literacy into the roots and efforts that shape how we see. The goal is not to produce an ever-greater volume of work, but to consider our ongoing steps with a greater care and lucidity. In his epic Essays written centuries ago, Michel de Montaigne used a similar approach to contemplate deeply about 'how to live'. The mental maps and mirrors presented here simply wonder 'how to see' ourselves within it all.
I've been a image-maker for many years and my practice began in my early 20's after failing to complete two different college programs. With little money, I worked in a hospital kitchen collecting food waste — or 'slop' as we called it — for pig farmers. It afforded me my first Mamiya RZ camera. That lead to jobs in discount printing houses, custom colour labs, volunteering in photo studios and eventually onto countless commercial sets as a technical artist to finance this visual machinery — it was never a cheap vocation. But through it, I've learned much about our cultural and commercial engines, and how they amble and pillage about in what the great author George Saunders defined as a "benign-looking thing." My own practice has lead me to explore Egungun funeral trances with West African Voodoo elders, the rise of modernity in Japanese Love Hotels, the heart of American gun culture in Kentucky, the routines of Peruvian livestock farming and slaughter, while at the same time, weaving them into the choreography of western advertising, fashion, and media ideals. This practice of awakening our common rituals through uncommon routines became the roots for the expressions of Other.