Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I am originally from Los Angeles (yes, I was actually born and raised there) but have been living and working in Valencia, Spain for the past two years.
What is your background as an artist? Do you come from an artistic family?
Even before I can remember, I have been making things and have been exposed to art. My grandmother was a painter and used to live with us several months each year when I was growing up. Drawing and painting along-side her definitely informed my early education as an artist. Later I studied sculpture, painting, and printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design.
How has your art practice (and art) changed since you left California for Valencia?
Since joining an artist studio collective (there are seven of us) here in Valencia, I am no longer painting completely isolated the way I was in L.A. I am inspired by working amongst other artists and at the same time I have to get along in a group dynamic. As for the actual art I’m making, I think it has dramatically improved and evolved to a much higher level. I’m thrilled with what this change has brought to my paintings. Coming to Spain has opened up my visual perspective in ways I could never have imagined.
Have you found that artists there have a different approach to art-making (as they do to food,etc.)?
I can’t really say if artists here have a particular way of making art, but maybe the difference is in the timetables. Here “morning” lasts until 2pm and “afternoon” lasts until 8pm. It took me a while to understand and appreciate this distinction. They still laugh at me for eating at what they consider to be odd times! But all in all, artists here are as ambitious as anywhere else I have encountered and this is where we find common ground.
Tell us a bit about this series.
This series is based on the very strange but very wonderful tradition of day-time fireworks that occur each year in March during Fallas (sort of like Spanish Mardi Gras). Every day during the entire month at 2pm in the Plaza Ayuntamiento, thousands of people gather as close as they can to experience what is called the Mascleta. The fireworks are launched and with an open mouth the sound enters the body and the vibration of the noise travels throughout from head to limbs. The pyrotechnic operators design the timing of the explosions almost like music and people jump and cheer to the rhythm of the sounds. The ten minute display culminates in a density of sound and clouds of smoke and the audience rewards with applause.
How do you create shapes with such a sense of depth with just watercolor and paper?
What appears to be watercolor paint is actually watered down acrylic. Using acrylic paint gives me more of a workable time frame. I apply the paint and sweep the color to edge of the intended shape. As the paint dries, I have to move it on the paper until the dark outline appears around the edge and the center is transparent. After sufficient drying time (at least 12-24hrs), I can then layer another shape on top giving it that sense of depth you describe.
The thin stripes that connect the shapes are a really interesting element that look very different (much more colorful) up close than they do at a distance. What inspired this addition?
I added the multi colored pencil lines to sort of “connect” the painted shapes to one another. I wanted to create a relationship between the elements with fewer of the shapes touching each other and instead connected by the lines. I made a large work on paper some years back where I added lines radiating away from the shapes and I was really intrigued by the result. So I decided to revisit the ideas of connection through lines and found it to be a labor intensive but very satisfying visual effect.