Tell us about these works.
I wanted to explore the visual language that engineers use to show their strategic planning and thinking process. Both of my brothers are engineers, and while I have no clue what they are talking about most of the time, we all share a creative mind that just happened to wander off into different professions. They obviously had more of a talent for science and math, whereas I was that quiet kid reading and drawing in the back of the class.
Do you draw completely from imagination or do you use any reference material?
For these drawings it was mostly from imagination but I did have a folder filled with 19th century engineering drawings that I went back to once and a while for inspiration. In my other works I tend to bounce around content wise. Sometimes that entails realistic reference, other times it's completely non-representation design work. I don’t really have a preference for either direction but I feel that the more surreal, fantasy/horror work in my portfolio is closer to my own eclectic interests.
What is your personal relationship with technology and science?
I was not the best student as far as the sciences were concerned but I love watching advancements in the tech and science world. It’s not just the newest app on the fastest phone with the coolest screen, but the kinds of things they are doing with prosthetics, automobiles, and space exploration I find really inspiring.
In an interview on Nonsense Society you said that you prefer rural life because you get overstimulated in cities. There is so much stimulation in your artwork. Do you feel like you don't need much external stimulation because its build-in for you?
I think I’m more overstimulating myself than anything external. Some of it is the anxiety of a new person, thing, or place but as I travel more, that washes away pretty quickly these days. If I’m at a gallery opening, I’m more or less annoyed that my brain is still trying to mess with me rather than letting me chill out and be myself. On the other hand, sometimes anxiety is actually a good thing, especially around new people. If I didn’t have any reaction then I’d be a little more worried about myself than the occasional anxious rush.
As far as my work is concerned, I do like as little distraction as possible, but it’s not a requirement. I didn’t plan these drawings out very much. I kept drawing and asking questions like “Why does that look like that?” “Could this also do this?” “What if this was actually doing that?”. In some cases, I didn’t know what the drawing was about until halfway through. There is always a rough outline and some research but once I feel confident, I’ll just pour myself into a drawing until it’s done.
Through art school and in my career, I tried to build myself as the type of artist who can go in any direction based on the needs of the content, as opposed to the other way around. I drew lots of different approaches to figure drawing, copied master painters like Nicolai Fechin, John Singer Sargent, and my personal favorite, Jean Dominique Ingres. I didn’t really care what these skills would develop into, I just wanted to do a good job. I didn’t want to waste my time, waste my classmates time, and of course disrespect my professors' time.
Previously your work stood out for its use bright color and contrasting patterns. What led you to this pared back aesthetic?
I’m in graduate school for Printmaking and Book Arts so the first year was all about simplifying my work. That way I could focus on mastering printing and book-making techniques that were completely foreign to me at the time. I’ve always loved comic books but I wasn’t a big fan of Marvel or DC when I was younger. I gravitated more towards highly detailed work like Todd McFarlane. Later on, I graduated to artists like Katsuhiro Otomo, Kim Jung Ji, and Moebius who really push the boundaries of detail and storytelling. I recently got into Junji Ito’s Japanese horror mangas. Really surreal, disturbing stuff in there, I love it. All these artists create densely complicated worlds which deal with everything from surrealism, horror, existentialism, and psychedelics. I think my next plan is to start writing and illustrating my own comic series.
What would you like your viewers to understand or experience from your work?
I want people to not try so hard to understand it or get frustrated if they don’t get it right away. Just wander around in the drawing. Pretend you’re a scientist and have fun asking questions about the drawings as you get lost in the complex imagery. I promise, you won't waste your time if you lose yourself in these drawings.