How would you describe your work to someone who's never seen it?
I use traditional printmaking media that is deeply embedded in the past, but I hope that I am able to give these traditional media a relevance to a contemporary audience. The work is all about natural forms in general and specifically the nature that is part of my life in Northeast Florida.
What ideas do you explore in your work?
I like to juxtapose an exploration of that which is beautiful in nature with a sense of loss and longing.
Describe your interest in printmaking processes as well as sculpture.
I enjoy the rituals and tools of printmaking processes. Each time I prepare a plate or block for printing, I am engaging in the creative craftsmanship of the printmaker, and for me it is this “process” that feeds the creative impulse to make art. I never tire of the magic of the printed image; there is that moment when you pull the paper off of the inked plate or block that is always a surprise, like opening a present.
I never know what my sculptures are going to look like until they are finished; they are very intuitive. I just start making and quit when I can't think of anything more to add.
Describe the linoleum block printing process as visible in most of the prints in the show.
I begin by taking lots of photographs. At first, I was photographing plant forms in their natural state, but more recently I have begun to arrange the objects like a still life. I then execute a drawing from the selected photograph on the scale of the final print, translating the values of the photograph to lines and crosshatching. I prepare my block by gluing the linoleum to a plywood backing that assures that the linoleum will remain rigid then transfer the drawing to the block using fine markers. I then begin the meticulous process of carving the image into the linoleum block using knives and gouges. The areas that appear “white” in the final print are the areas that are carved out of the block. Once the image is carved, the block is ready to print by rolling ink over the surface of the block. A sheet of Japanese mulberry paper is placed over the inked plate, and the back of the paper is rubbed with enough pressure to transfer the ink from the block to the paper. For the largest prints, this whole process will take about a month.
You often work in series--grasses, eggs, palms, sanctuary, among others. Please pick one of your series and describe your goals for it.
The Sanctuary series is my most recent so it is probably the easiest to discuss. As a resident of St. Augustine, I enjoy taking walks along our beaches. On these walks, you come across these feeble little fences made of wooden stakes and survey tape to mark turtle egg nests. I suppose it is somehow hopeful to see these markers, but mostly they strike me as very sad. These "fences" seemed to be the perfect metaphor to me for our desire to somehow protect so much that is rapidly disappearing. In this series, the foliage of Florida, the beauty of the codex, the references to a past of abundance, all appear with a random selection of natural objects that inhabit this "sanctuary."
What's the most challenging and/or rewarding part of working with your chosen medium?
As I mentioned, it is the “process” that is most rewarding but also the most challenging. These processes always present unexpected obstacles but also enduring rewards.