My early drawings were mostly born of personal imagery, involving a complex process of re-imagining space, object and idea. It is an introverted process, highly driven by curiosity. When the phrase “hair of the dog” came up in conversation a few years back, a vision emerged that could not be ignored: a dog, a patch of hair shaved from its side, clumps of hair lying on the floor. And so it began. The drawings started as a visualization of common phrases whose original meanings are now lost, altered, or evolved into a personal compilation of images involving memory, imagination, and the memory of imagination.
Take the phrase “briar patch” for instance: a briar, lacking in vegetation, a viscous black substance dripping from its knotted branches to pool at its base. Its origin comes from a specific memory of imagination when I was eight years old, involving the once popular children’s storytelling record Huckleberry Hound Tells Stories of Uncle Remus: Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. I remember elements of the record vividly. A previous owner had scribbled purple crayon all over the grooves. I ran it through my record player over and over until the record ceased to skip, the grooves found themselves, and the story emerged. In every recollection of this story the same image prevails: a tar soaked briar patch, weeping its thick black liquid into a pool upon a barren ground. And so it was drawn.
Slowly the drawings became a more complex process, more akin to miniature painting. The muted palette arose from a personal challenge to create depth with a white-on-white palette. I use three different whites and mix intermediate whites from those three primaries. I tend to use vellum or old parchment paper and start with the ink line work, I then move to the back side and begin to paint in the whites, and finally paint in the finishing details on the front side. The influencing factors that sparked my methods were two contemporary miniature painting events at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum: a collaborative exhibition called Karkhana and a lecture given by the Singh Twins. And so it evolved.