“To me, beauty is looks you can never forget. A face should jolt, not soothe.” – John Waters
I create mixed media portraits that explore color, texture, and the juxtaposition of natural and manufactured materials. The vibrant colors and patterns are drawn from my experience woodcarving in rural Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2012. There, I learned how to transform a chunk of the copal tree into alebrijes – brightly colored folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. The term originated when artist Pedro Linares fell very ill and dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. Trees transformed into bizarre creatures – a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head – and all of them were shouting one word, “alebrijes.”
The idea of releasing something wild and unexpected into the world is one I revisit with each portrait I create. Each work begins as a precise, high-contrast drawing. I distort and abstractify my subject’s features, creating a playful, semi-nightmarish portrait—subjects of choice range from grotesque monsters to my friends and family. After software processing, I use CNC technology to fabricate each piece’s parts using colored acrylic and birch plywood. After assembly, the final result is a freakish and frenetic portrait that jolts more than it does soothe.
My studio practice is meticulous and often tedious, fueled by obsession, compulsion, and mania. I choose to work this way because I find the process to be meditative and therapeutic. In examining the intricacies of my subjects and mapping their curves, colors, and shapes, I become entranced by every imperfection. When presented to a viewer, I want them to be taken aback a bit but feel the need to examine the artwork further to create their own narrative about this wild thing they are encountering – to remember it for its beauty.
View my CV here.