The inspiration for my art comes from stories. For generations my family has been profoundly literary, telling stories to celebrate the world, to find meaning in the world, to survive in the world, and to remind us, as Joseph Campbell puts it, of the "rapture of being alive." Since I have been surrounded by stories all my life, I have come to understand not only the joy and wisdom they can instill, but also that they are an absolute necessity in daily life. Stories create a sense of community and help us understand why we're alive. They reveal the truth, and are crucial to our lives, our souls, and our very survival.
My drawings consist of visual narratives that explore the human condition in all of its complexity, fragility, grandeur, horror, absurdity, comedy, and beauty. Many of my drawings are based on stories written by Franz Kafka, who of all of the authors I've read, explains the nature and motivations of human beings in the most psychologically incisive way. My drawings are also based on my own writing, and on accounts of genocide told by survivors. My composite photorealistic style permits me to tell stories in a clear, accessible, precise, and dramatically compelling manner. Instead of drawing from a single photograph, I work from a variety of photographs integrated into a purely invented image. In this way, an imagined or remembered subject becomes hyper-realistic and believable. Composite photorealism creates a broader range of narrative possibilities than single-source photorealism because it allows me to use my imagination when combining a number of photographs to tell a story.
To make my drawings I undertake an extensive drafting and preparatory process, developing my drawings over a series of increasingly organized drafts. These begin as sketches that are purely imagined, and evolve into something more substantial, realistic, and accurate, as I gather photographs of various subjects to "flesh out" that first draft. For a single drawing I may shoot as many as five hundred photos of various subjects, including family, friends, strangers, natural scenery, animals, and still-lifes; and from those hundreds of photos I select only a few from which to draw–those of highest quality and most suitable for my purpose. My rigorous drafting process then allows me the time to develop a drawing to which I will commit myself for weeks or months, and it permits me a better, deeper understanding of the meaning behind the drawing, the themes behind my vision.
born:1980, Ojai, California
University of Minnesota, MFA, 2011
Stanford University, BA, 2003
The Blake School, High School degree, 1999
Katherine E. Nash Scholarship, University of Minnesota, 2010
Drawing "Franz Kafka's The Judgment" received 2nd Prize in national Utrecht Art Contest, 2009; 1st Prize in Minnesota State Fair, 2009
Barbara and Sandy Dornbush Award for Painting, Stanford University, 2003
Humanities and Creative Arts Major Grant, Stanford University, 2003
"Swimming with a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle." Northfield, MN: Red Dragonfly Press, 2007
"Dark Fire." San Francisco, CA: Giant Horse Printing, 2003
"My Only Home." Northfield, MN: Red Dragonfly Press, 2003
solo or two-person exhibits
The Grand Hand Gallery: Pope Brothers Drawing Exhibition, St. Paul, MN, 2010
Uptown Art Fair: Pope Brothers Drawing Exhibition, Minneapolis, MN, 2009
Edina Art Fair: Pope Brothers Drawing Exhibition, Minneapolis, MN, 2009
Thomas Welton Gallery: Senior Exhibition, Stanford, CA, 2003
Katherine E. Nash Gallery: Interpenetration, Minneapolis, MN, 2011
1419 Gallery: STAND Anti-Genocide Art Show, Minneapolis, MN, 2011
Bennett Gallery: Blake School Alumni Fine Arts Show, Minneapolis, MN, 2010
Robbinsdale Gallery: Patti's Choice Invitational Exhibition, Robbinsdale, MN, 2010