As an illustrator, my work focuses on giving visual form to stories and ideas so that they can be shared universally. My paintings emphasize aesthetic detail and intricacies to build interest in the piece while creating characters and personalities in each work. As an artist, I am very intrigued with attempting to give each of my pieces a certain feeling that goes with it that can be then conveyed to the viewer. This collection of works is the result of taking my fascination with emotional transference and applying it to my personal experience with the city of Paris. Having lived in the city for a significant period of time with the program, I was able to engage myself with Paris in ways that many other visitors and travelers cannot. I spent long stretches of time researching these specific sites and observing the environment and how the people interacted with it. It is these experiences, in which I was spending time living in the city as a person, and not as a tourist, which I desire to share with others. Each of these paintings represents the feelings or emotions that specific locations in Paris and the surrounding areas evoked within me, and the general atmosphere of the area as I perceived it during my field studies. I hope to take these parts of the city and paint them as living, breathing organisms- to give them in a visual, more literal manner the life that they held in person. By personifying the city of Paris through my paintings, viewers will better understand the Paris that I not only visited, but experienced.
Research in Art Scholarship
Growing up in Daytona Beach, besides being labeled as a party town, people really respected the environment they inhabited. There was a real conscious effort by all my friends growing up to do beach clean ups, also in the 90’s there was a rise in more communication avenues, more knowledge how about green energy and recycling efforts were being made. The natural world has always enticed me ever since I can remember, especially when I was in high school. I was in Future Farmers of America for four years and took every science class possible. With marine biology at the top of my list and botany a close second, subsequently I became quite respectful of the earth and its atmosphere. Currently, my heart is in designing visual art that brings attention to the growing critical conditions of earths depleting resources. Water is the subject I encounter and research the most, and most conveyed throughout my sculptures and installations.
One of my goals this year was to go Europe and travel to one of the original places where the birth of art took prominence in the 18th and 19th centuries. Being an avid Romanticist myself, I truly have love for the environment that surrounds me like the Parisians. By receiving this particular research grant I was able to construct another project geared towards my love art and the natural world. Currently I am researching alternative forms of energy and energy conservation. While I was living in Paris I cataloged all forms that the French used as alternative services and reductions in contrast to United States of America. My data included the use of solar power on all new buildings in the making, and gardens on roofs to cool down the inside structures. The Parisians do not use Air condition, walk most places, and absolutely do not gorge on menial things like take out boxes or cups that Americans are so fond of. “The U.S. consumes 30 percent of the world’s resources despite making up only 5 percent of the world’s population. It also produces 30 percent of the world’s waste.” Parisians only use what is needed and find a way to reuse almost anything. They take pride in their environment and live modestly, with respect for the natural world.
The most inspiring to me was a trip to one of my favorite topics in art museums, the combination of art and science. The ESP foundation, a museum of art devoted to research in science. Located in the city of Paris, the exhibit was called “Carbon 12” and encompassed information about the growing possibilities of the molecule of carbon and its use in scientific studies. Also, the exhibit contained other information about the depleting rainforests, and unique phosphorous glow in plankton. One of the most prominent artists of France had a piece within this show as well. His name is He He. He is a visual artist that uses motion, audio, and the topic of global warming to produce a piece of work that brilliantly portrays the intensity and severity of emissions that will affect our world’s atmosphere. He He became an instant inspiration for me and for where I want to be in the future with my art work.
My art encompasses the beauty of the very thing that we humans are depleting. This sculpture that will be installed in the 2nd floor of the library will be dedicated to France and their respect for the circle of life. With regards to France I chose to make an Art Nouveau chandelier which contains recycled materials and led lights. Art Nouveau is an era in Paris where art was breaking off from the traditional style to enhance organic design through wood, metal, and stained glass. Most Art Nouveau was used for decoration and mimicked the natural world. In my particular piece the raindrops hitting the growing leaf are metaphors for the continuation of green life. The Flower represents the sun and the fact that energy from the sun is important to keep our natural world flowing. My art deals with the very beauty that we are taking advantage of, and hope that by using recycled materials it will help explain the need to conserve and reduce waste.
From the time I was five onward, I always had some sort of creative project in the works. My teacher in elementary school began my early art education in 1996 by teaching me about artists such as O’Keefe, Picasso and Seurat and showing me their individual techniques. Throughout my basic schooling, I continued to have exemplary educators who took an extra interest in showing me how to hone my skill set and place in me a drive to be better. The methods of art historical inquiry that my educators instilled in me influenced the work that I produced. When I was younger and just learning about the vast capabilities of art, I focused more on completing works with a naturalistic feel to them and that were grounded in my familial relationships or societal on-goings. For example, I did a lot of graphite drawings from photographs of family events, my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary and family vacations for instance, I wanted to manipulate those memories to construe a more controlled sense of individuality that the photos themselves lacked. And going back even younger, I won a state-wide poster contest that promoted a drug-free school environment. It focused on a working-class neighborhood’s potential to foster productive behavioral habits in their children to lessen their chances at being consumed by the negative effects of drug use. In tackling these integrated subjects, I feel as if the means of analysis I learned as a young artist of breaking down a particular artist’s style, their societal references and relevance helped me to break down my own inspirations and find the best means of expression for them.
However even with this abundance of outside encouragement early on, at home my artistic drive was only encouraged as a hobby. I was told to focus on another prospective career because there was no money in art -I wonder if my mom would tell that to Damien Hirst! So I tried to delve into another career track, Marine Science. I do not think I could have chosen a more different field. I was president of my Marine Science club in high school and that is the chosen degree path that I was accepted into the University of South Florida for. Ironically, I found that the part of Marine Science that I enjoyed most was being able to see the world with wonder, as a child would. This ability would resurface in my work and I hope it gives it a sense of raw honesty. Late in 2009, things began to fall apart for me scholastically and personally. It was art that I finally went back to in order to pull myself back together. In art I find the closest thing to religion I will ever understand; I finally found in myself a whole person.
I took that sense of childish wonder and am running with it as far as it will let me. My work more recently has focused on themes regarding a duality between personal wonderment and entrapment, complex and fragile familial relationships as well as the manipulation of knowledge in American society. I feel as if the American eduction system has been doing its students a disservice; we as a populace disregard the immense skill and dedication that it takes to master a craft or subject area and take these for granted. Particularly, the writings of Ayn Rand have inspired me to search for the individual’s power and role within society, its connection to their personal skill set and its henceforth manipulation for the potentially ungrateful or unknowing masses. In our time of immense modernity, knowledge is at our fingertips and how we utilize its potential is maddening.
Most recently, I have traveled to Paris, France and combined two of these themes to focus on the differing attitudes of American and Parisian usage of public space. The creation and functionality of Parisian parks has been a great influence. The dichotomy of the classification of public space and its usage as a personal living space is very different from the majority of American spaces. The Parisian’s use their parks as we would our living rooms; for exercise, naps, eating, socializing and studying. It takes American viewed “private” moments and makes them a part of a public lifestyle; it functions as a means of tying the population together in a way that this country lacks. The familial relationships that influenced the creation of these Parisian norms I believe stemmed from centuries of citizenship and an allegiance with one’s fellow Frenchman.
I currently work with many mediums including but never limited to: graphite, charcoal, acrylic, styrofoam, wood, food particles, razor blades, and vodka. I am intrigued by the relationship materials have with one another and in finding corresponding humanistic roles that would fit into manipulations of those materials. I hope to bring knowledge of art practices, both material and metaphysical, to young students in the same way that my educators have done for me.
This work in particular I hope will bring light to other students regarding the potential utilization of a public lifestyle that I believe to be more beneficial for a nation than the isolationist standpoint we have been adopting as a result of Manifest Destiny. As the American dream has inspired, we want to own our own land and claim a space as ours. In pride of this ownership, as a people we want to make use of it for our own pleasure, which leads to the isolationist nature I am referring to. In combining the public and private spheres, Paris has maintained a level of connectivity and comradery with their fellow citizens. This piece exemplifies these different uses of space and will hopefully force these realizations onto the viewer, allowing them their own introspection and analysis of their private spaces.
Since the early 2000s I have been involved with photography and mix digital media. Most of my work is based on people, buildings, and location. I capture those irreplaceable moments that you long to cherish, such as your baby’s first steps, your college graduation, your wedding day and even candid moments with friends. I have really been getting into night photography these past couple of months. I would say my work explores the relationship between the body and multimedia experiences.
With influences as diverse as Wittgenstein and Roy Lichtenstein, new tensions are created from both orderly and random layers. Ever since I was in high school the traditional understanding of relationships of the body and how you can photograph it has fascinated me. Checking out books, researching photographers, and practice has helped me become a better photographer. I have been into photography ever since I was given my first Polaroid camera; I would always take lots of pictures of people, faces, and bodies. My first job was working in a photography lab back in 2007; where I really took my photography skills to the next level.
I am currently attending the University Of South Florida for a Bachelors of Arts degree focusing on photography. My most recent work comes from Paris, France. What’s shown in my work is how Paris has changed since the 1920’s. I loved the idea of photographing images from the 1920’s to today. The images I selected have to do with the locations in which these images where taken. I love the emptiness in the pictures that Atget took. Most of his images did not have people in them, and the Atget photography exhibition in Paris helped me see even more wonderful work of Atget that no other exhibition has ever seen. This exhibition showed me different places of Paris, shops, and even rivers. Most everything has changed for me and I’m glad I was able to get this opportunity to visit these places. My Paris experience has helped me look at the world threw my viewfinder a lot different than I have.
My work has always encompassed elements of psychology and the physicality of the art itself. Through investigations and observations I analyze elements of myself through different processes. I believe the artist coexists with the work. As growth takes place with the elements of the art, I, as the artist, evolve simultaneously.
The art piece, Souvenirs, shares my memories and experiences of Paris with the public. Souvenir in French means memory. The word is used to describe an object acquired to remember the associated experience. During my stay in Paris, I acquired small pocket-sized objects to capture impactful moments along my expedition.
I have participated in the collecting process since my early childhood. Random objects began to have strong emotions associated with them even though they appeared meaningless to others. This artwork analyzes psychological connections to physical entities. My collection is a mirror of my identity and unique to me. These objects once were scattered across Paris, but now have a dialogue of their own when presented together in a singular space.
Another aspect of Souvenirs is the way in which tourists interact with a foreign environment. This artwork focuses of the exploitation of tourism. Growing up in Orlando has impacted me at an early age of the way businesses lure masses into paying bountiful sums on branded objects. I used a process tourists partake in while being mindful of coercing tactics. The act of acquiring objects along my journey tells a story of my moments and allows me to share them with others.
The way in which this collection is displayed is similar to how an archeologist displays work in a museum. While overseas, I collected artifacts of the culture and brought them back like an explorer of a new found land.
Upon returning from Paris, my art making processes have been continually transforming, turning my personal identity and experiences into works of art. Paris was a challenge for my creativity and mind, in the sense that I was forced to use limited materials and work space while residing in the city. By practicing and exploring various mediums, some being but not limited to painting, drawing, and 3D, sculptural work, on a much smaller scale, often requiring mobility, my conceptual art work was strengthened. This practice has continued with me in the United States, as I continue to work out my responses to memories, location, and reality in a wide variety of mediums and tools.
I use photography as a way of interacting with my surroundings, to create a memory, and interpret reality. To me, a photograph serves as a way of remembering a time and space in relation to my reaction. Specifically with landscape photographs, my strength comes from capturing and using light in unique ways, as well as capturing fleeting atmospheric changes. Specifically, during this project, I had the opportunity to closely observe and study original works of French photographer Eugene Atget. Replicating the generally simple, poised compositions, I spent some time attempting to see things in a less literal way. The architecture, alleyways, and highly complex city layout, was such a fresh and exciting place to photograph a rich, multi dimensional image. My photographs started as a replication of Atget’s photograph and then evolved into capturing the dynamic change occurring over time. Also, replicating the work of another photographer provided for most of the compositional planning and research. This allowed me to exert more concentration and energy on capturing an artistic vision, and appreciate the constant state of flux Paris provides.