What inspired your winning entry? BECOMING was inspired by a young man I met who had an unusual way about him. He had fought his way through a difficult childhood and was at the precipice of a great change from childhood to adulthood. It seemed that every time I looked at him he was a different person, flipping from a playful kid to a knowing adult, from innocent and naive to worldly, wise, and powerful. Underlying his every movement and manner, I could feel something wild, something dangerous. At this precipice of change, I wondered what would arise in him. Who would he become, what path in life would he choose? It is a miraculous thing to see a metamorphosis so evident in another’s eyes, and I felt privileged to have witnessed this beautiful moment of transition.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s of fine arts in painting and drawing from the Laguna College of Art + Design.
How would you describe your style? I want to make art that is important—art that stands as a powerful witness to the human soul. I want to make works that are representational, and yet, what they represent illuminates that which is not representational—the yearning of the soul, the drama of life and the human heart, death, and the passing of time. I paint with a lot of care and detail. My paintings are usually soulful and quiet. Woven within the layers of paint, I believe there is an intensity of meaning, great emotional expression, and clarity of vision that can be felt.
What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? I have witnessed people overcome with tears or stirred with deep emotions while standing in front of a picture I have made. There is no greater honor than to have created a work of art that has moved a stranger to tears. Not every painting is that emotionally charged, but I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to see this several times, and it is a powerful reminder that there is great purpose to what I do.
What galleries represent your work? I have no primary gallery that is representing me currently. I really enjoy exhibiting in group exhibitions, and I have never had more opportunities to show my work than right now. Though I have not sought out formal representation before, I am beginning to think about it for the future.
This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!