As an artist, I am driven by the visual expression of non-verbal truth. I am fascinated with the magic-makers of our world, underground performers and creators of the spaces that give people a place to dream. I am inspired by all of those people who chase their improbable and wondrous dreams.
My studio practice walks a line between the mastery of Craft and the casual nature of crafts, as a reminder that everyone holds the power to be a maker of wonders. I believe that self-exploration is found through the working movements of the hand. Thoreau said, “All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy; we reason from our hands to our head.”
In “Why Look at Animals,” John Berger claims that human language arose from our relationship with the symbolic animal. He and many post-humanist theorists feel that the human is separated from the non-human animal by the gulf between their lack of language and our reliance upon it. Many human-to-human connections get tangled up beyond recovery in webs of words.
For centuries, people anthropomorphized animals in the form of fables. In these fables, human writers projected human traits onto animals, making creatures that looked like Fox but deceived like Man. These stories tried to bridge the divide by bringing the non-human animal into our assumptions.
In my work, I start with the writings of animal behaviorists and biologists and the stories of individual animals. From there, I create Reverse Fables, projecting those behaviors back onto the human stories unfolding around me. The giraffe’s incredible neck, filled with evolutionary adaptations that keep blood in its brain when it raises its head, is an adaptation to its most obvious adaptation – its long neck. I then project this onto aging members of underground subcultures who adapted into subculture lifestyles but who later struggle to create adaptations that allowed them to move in the default world as those subcultures faded away. Like the giraffe who built entire organs for the simple act of taking a drink of water, these human animals are trying to create elaborate new organs to survive in the public outside of their counterpublic. Their stories of glory and abundance and underground wisdom translate back into the giraffe as the giraffe’s evolutionary story is projected on them.
The words to tell these sorts of stories – subculture, counterpublic, outsider, survival – collapse under the weight of assumption. Instead, the visual reverse fable tries to make an archive of the beauty of the stories that a viewer can “hear” rather than only seeing the veil of their assumptions.