During a studio visit one of my major professors told me I make art because of some inner drive and it was pretty obvious I’d be making art in my generally obsessive and manic way regardless of anything else. I was encouraged to explore what that inner drive was powered by as a way to learn more about my artwork.
Over the past few years I’ve come to believe that my artwork is fueled by a desire to feel connected to something – anything – that keeps me feeling alive and moves me to appreciate how beautiful life, and death, can be.
At an early age I became aware of how fragile humanity is – how precarious our place is within the world – and my security or feeling of place was shattered. I’ve spent the rest of my time searching for all the missing shards so that I might reassemble what was lost.
Pneuma is Greek for spirit or soul, and in Stoic philosophy, pneuma is generally conceptualized as the pieces of the soul of god which embodies all living things in the world. It’s said that our souls reach out to things which contain pneuma if we’re open enough to respond – connecting our souls to the soul of god. The more we allow ourselves to connect to the world around us, the stronger our connection to god, and the closer we are to enlightenment – to feeling complete.
I’ve never been religious but I’ve always been spiritual. I don’t remember ever feeling a sense of child-like faith that I witnessed in my friends and family – maybe I was too young to remember. To me Religion was a little like Santa, I felt in my heart that things weren’t what they seemed and played along because it seemed to make people happy. I’m a people pleaser by nature.
I’ve always believed in something “higher” though; call it God, Buddha, Allah, Gaia – it doesn’t matter – I think that there is something out there that’s much greater than we can conceptualize. Maybe this something is simple reality.
I think that we’re all searching for a sense of belonging and the feeling that our existence isn’t meaningless. In modern society it’s often hard to find these things. No matter what path we take – the desire is a common catalyst.
“We’re drawn away from gods toward rotting refuse,
for gods do not entice. They posses being
and only being, great stores of being,
but not scent, not gesture. Nothings is so silent
as a god’s mouth…
Everything tempts. Even the small bird,
from its pure leafwork, exerts forces on us;”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, 1913
There is inherently something spiritual in my search for greater connection. I value life and I find beauty in natural death. My work seeks to comment on the relationships we have with the natural world and on the way our individual perception of reality effects such interactions.
I’m a firm believer that the main function of art is to communicate. I find that when I create work I find solutions to problems I didn’t know existed. In the end my artwork is just as much a dialog with myself as it is with the viewer.
The role of belief in my work is central: it’s not enough to search for a sense of unification with some greater reality, the belief that this connection is there facilitates the reality itself.
Belief shapes reality.
(I could rant a little about the Lacanian virtual real but I’ll just leave it at this for now. It’s pretty heavy shit and my brain is pretty tired at the moment.)