Briefly describe the work you do.
I work with a range of materials, but I commonly use sound/music, video, and installation to produce socially engaged artworks. Anytime someone asks, “why is this art?” I smile.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
My father’s occupation caused my family to move a few times as a child. This allowed me to learn a lot about the sects of American culture and the relationships of the American people with each other and themselves. I always found this fascinating, and now I allow that to drive my artistic concepts.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio serves as a place where I produce artwork, but it also simply comforts me. Regardless of the anxiety or trouble in the rest of my life, my studio seems to consistently welcome me and inspire me to do what makes me feel good: make art.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I have deliberately changed my role as an artist because I want to make art that “adds to the conversation rather than simply reiterating what’s already been said.” My mentor Mark Lee Koven gave me that advice and I revisit it all the time. I want my art to make people think about how they interact with themselves and those around them, so I research sociology, ethnography, ecology, and socially engaged art. Ever since I made a conscious decision to stop trying to make art for rich people to buy, I have been so much more excited about my results and potential.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
One of my mottos is “Make art every day”. I also love Chuck Close’s quote, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us show up and get to work.” I create art every day, whether it’s sketching, practicing guitar, or re-visiting old concepts and projects. If I don’t do something creative every day I will feel useless.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
My work has developed into being experiential and interactive, where it was mostly two dimensional five years ago. The potential I have to create something fresh through my knowledge of music and visual art excites me much more than the thought of limiting myself to art that is readily recognizable as such. While I am experimenting with interaction and social practice, I still refer to the elements of art and principles of design, and the themes that exist in my work are similar to my older work.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Mark Lee Koven is a brilliant teacher who I was fortunate to have at Florida State, and now at Utah State. He convinced me that my potential is best if I emphasize my unorthodox approach to problem-solving.
I love stories of unconventional artists finding success, even though they were probably accused of being talent-less by a bunch of idiots. Harmony Korine, Chris Johanson, and David Choe come to mind.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I used to be an elementary and middle school art and P.E. teacher. I could see myself working at a music venue or studio as an audio engineer.
I am an interdisciplinary artist who emphasizes the creation of experiences over art objects. My life experience has allowed me to travel and live in a wide range of locations, within a variety of cultures. Born in Miami in 1986, I also lived in Southern California, Chicago, North Carolina, and the border of Florida and Alabama when I was a kid.
My academic background includes credits from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Denver, and Florida State University. I am currently pursuing an MFA from Utah State University.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.