Balance, contradiction, and metaphor are the over-arching three elements I try to interject into my work as a framework. Through a layering process, be it the physical layering of juxtaposed images, the layering of image and text, or different skins of paint or charcoal stacked on each other, I hope the work will bring a viewer in, and allow the viewer to begin a dialogue with the work, and discover not only a physical layering of design elements, but also layered meaning and content.
Using an image that communicates something symbolically or metaphorically is my starting point. I try to balance the content of a piece with technical proficiency. Technique for technique’s sake leaves me empty, and likewise I don’t want to try to communicate some concept only to have it fall apart due to a lack of craftsmanship. Getting the formal aspects of a work to balance with the conceptual elements becomes crucial. As I continue this layering process, the idea of balancing seemingly competing elements gives me a contradictory visual tension which hopefully gives pieces energy for the viewer. Layering multiple images, formal elements, or images and text, which while generated from a specific idea, are juxtaposed in perhaps a mysterious or ambiguous way adds to this visual tension. Be it the illusion of space, contradicted by the flatness of text, or naturalistic detail negated by a spontaneous expressionistic mark, these competing elements come together to create this visual tension. Sometimes I will hear a piece of music, a lyric in a song, see a scene in a film, or simply have a flash of some distant memory. Images come to mind, and that is where the idea starts. I don’t necessarily give viewers all of the information, as what is left out is equally as important as what is included, but rather I try to give viewers what I like to term narrative fragments. Leaving things a bit ambiguous, mysterious, or just enough hidden in the shadows will hopefully cause viewers to look a little deeper, develop their own dialogue with the work, and hopefully find their own interpretations. After all, I have had my time and dialogue with the work, but it only becomes complete when viewers have their own interactions.
I read of a study once that measured the time museum patrons actually interacted with a work of art. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of three seconds, and the same study found that viewers actually spent more time reading the title-card for a work, than actually looking at a piece. I guess my simplistic goal at the end of the day is to beat three seconds. Perhaps through this marriage of form and content, text and image, and use of symbolism and metaphor, a viewer might spenc more than those three seconds looking at my work. If this is so, I guess did my job.