I was exposed to the street art scene while studying painting at Pratt about ten years ago. Several friends were totally immersed in making work in a public capacity, but I was completely uninterested in doing that sort of thing and only wished to be alone in my studio painting my abstract paintings (while chain smoking and brooding of course). It wasn’t until 2007 that I really got that itch to work outside. I think I needed a relief from my self-imposed isolation and with the street art scene came this immediate connection with the outside world that I was really craving.
At HYDE, categories are just a way to archive tons of images, and more than once it’s so hard to define an artist as a painter or a street artist. What’s the real difference?
Well speaking just for myself, and in regards to my own practice, I think putting myself in a box marked “street artist” is limiting and pointless, because I don’t know if in ten years street art will still be fulfilling to me and if it is not, I won’t be doing it. I’ll be making art, but who knows in what capacity and in a way, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a drawing, painting or an install on the street.
A glamour gallery or a street wall?
What’s a glamour gallery? That doesn’t sound appealing at all.
Are you still interested in defining yourself and your art?
Definition has nothing to do with wanting to make things, so I don’t have much interest in it.
I would describe my work as being expressive and hopefully communicative.
Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?
My work flow is often slightly manic and I tend to be very prolific but it does vary. I produce a lot of work in a short amount of time, and then go for weeks without making anything.
Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
I’m inspired by human anatomy, by the lines and shapes that make up people’s faces. I often look at someone’s face and begin figuring out in my head how I would draw their nose, or their mouth, even when I’m not in the studio.
What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
Things can get super tough in the studio because things can be tough outside the studio. I’m incredibly flawed as a person. I’m neurotic and depressive, I usually over react, I surely drive my loved ones crazy. I can get overwhelmed by my fears of life and my fears of death. I often think I am not good enough, and I am paralyzed by the thought of never fulfilling my potential as an artist. I must be honest and say that I definitely have periods of time when I shut down and can’t do much by ways of work and that is the exact time I pull down the blinds, crawl into bed and settle in for a marathon of “The Real Housewives of New York”.
How could you describe that precise moment….I mean the one it makes you say: “Yes! This is great! I did it! I got it!”
I live for that moment- it’s the moment where the piece has been fully realized and was made in a whole state of being- and that is the moment that keeps me coming back for more.
How have you handled the business side of being an artist?
I am very uncomfortable with pricing my work and I find the business side of it all best handled by others. However I am on my own in many ways as an artist, and I enjoy running two websites for my work- one for studio work which includes drawings and paintings and one dedicated solely to the work outside.
What is your family background?
I have a wonderfully crazy family and we are all very close.
Were there any artists or creative types in the family?
My Grandma Olga was a painter, and began teaching me how to paint around age nine. We shared a studio for many years before she passed away in 2008. One of my brothers is a talented musician and poet and my Dad is a genius auto mechanic. He was customizing model cars at age 8.
What upcoming shows, exhibitions, do you have coming up?
I’ll have a piece in the group show “Street Art Saved my Life: 39 New York Stories” presented by Brooklyn Street Art in LA in August, and then I go to Albany in September for “Living Walls” where I can hopefully get my hands on an abandoned space to install some work in.
What’s the best part of being an artist?
Drawing and painting helps me connect with myself in a way that gets lost in the chaos of daily living.
The hardest part of your passion?
It’s pretty hard to see 17 year old pop singers with hair that never gets frizzy raking in millions when I can barely sell a painting and my hair always seems frizzy.
Before you put your work “out there”. Do you have it critiqued by someone else, or do you just go with what your heart tells you is right?
I’m not sure I do either- I often discuss my work with the people close to me but I always just go with what I feel is right. I believe I have a fine tuned intuition.