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Are you a realist painter?

Very generally we have to talk about the space that my work occupies. This is not a real space. These are however very real images, painfully so. They are photojournalist images, and yet where I have placed them, intentionally, is into an impossible space, un-real in every sense of the word. These events did not occur together; these people have never been together in this way and the backgrounds are not “real”, they are made up, combinations of both the spaces they occupied at the time of the photographs, mashed together into an “impossible” abstraction. So, right off from the start I am in no way presenting a realist space or framework. This is something else entirely. Yet the images of the figures themselves certainly reference visual truth as our three dimensional eyes perceive it. Realism has traditionally, in the arts, meant quotidian, pedestrian, of the "every day" classes and painted in a "natural" state. Realism also refers to art painted in a photographic manner. In both respects my work is largely within the category of "realism". I do not paint about elite groups of society, and I paint so-called "everyday" people in what are sadly everyday experiences (I say sadly, because they are deeply tragic and unnecessary - and this is the very point of my work), and I paint and mostly embroider the figures in a realist manner, with a strong likeness to what you would see in a photograph.


Am I making a statement or taking a position on realism? That is not something I am directly addressing as a central part of my work, but I don't think it can be overlooked entirely by me either. This is where the conversation wanders into the territory of "style", which is itself complex. I say "complex" because style is such a broad term and when asked about style artists are often asked about their style as if they had a choice in the matter. Do we ask Bob Dylan about his voice? Would we have asked Bob Marley about his? They were both, in my view, extremely different in tone but "realists" in a sense too, singing about life, about society, about the times honestly as every day people sharing the struggles, hopes and desires of every day people. So, I stop at "realism" and answer yes, for the most part my work is largely realist, both as an agenda and as a matter of material fact, but I stay away from the question about style. What you see is what you get. It chose me. My style emerged out of all the experiences that define me. I adhere to its navigation, not vice-versa.

Why is being a Texas artist important to you?

I choose to work very specifically from Texas because Texas is the culmination point of all the extremes of American society. It is the ugliest of stages upon which the American drama unfolds. Texas r

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