Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I grew up in Pasadena, CA. I'm now living in Brooklyn, NY.
Tell us about this series. Babies is definitely an interesting choice of subject.
This series is about meditation. My idea of meditation is that it is very human and personal, so I wanted to represent the idea through figures. I chose babies because there's no baked in narrative with babies; they are souls without stories. This made them the ideal subject because I could represent humanness without taking away too much of the serenity of an empty page.
I came upon babies as a subject in a painting I did recently, called Spectre of the Illuminati. (Image below)
Can you talk a bit about the bubbles in these paintings?
The bubbles in the painting are a reference to the blobs and bubbles I see when I close my eyes for meditation, though those are usually against a muddy grey backdrop. They're also a way to anchor the compositions and create a feeling of spaciousness.
For a long time oil paint was your medium of choice. Why did you switch to watercolors?
I became excited about watercolors more recently when working on my Twitter Portraits series. I like watercolor because it is very intentional while remaining very delicate. It captures subtlety and softness for me better than oils can. Oil painting also comes with a lot of personal and historical baggage. The Flemish masters used oils, as did Picasso, Sargent, contemporary artists like Odd Nerdrum, and so many other "Serious Artists". In art school I bought into the idea of being a "Serious Artist", and it hurt my creativity. That weight of seriousness got tied up in my technical practice of oil painting, and it has been hard to extract.
Like many artists you have a full-time job. In your case it's totally unrelated to art. How do you stay inspired and make time for your art practice?
My day job has discrete hours that are not too demanding, so I have time to paint. When I find I'm not painting it's usually because I'm worn out or have too many side projects, in which case it's a sign that I need to ease up and take time for my art. Once I dedicate time I usually find inspiration quickly.
Looking back to your time at art school, what advice did you receive that resonates now?
The most useful and relevant advice I received in school with regards to painting: "If you want your painting to be beautiful, see the beauty in what you are painting." Whenever I feel frustrated with how a piece is going, I remind myself to see the beauty in a subject. It sounds simple, but it's a wonderful practice.