I am a multimedia social justice artist. My works usually chronicle actual events that involve injustice and bigotry in the United States. My artwork is created to help support civil rights for everyone; to reveal violent actions from oppressors; and to oppose racism, sexism, ageism, or any other concept that creates oppression or discrimination. I mainly make oil paintings, drawings, sculptures, and monoprints.
Since childhood, I have been a person who believes in equality for all people. My education has allowed me to understand ways in which oppression is created and maintained in society. I have been working with this sort of subject matter since the 1990s, and my focus became even sharper and more topical when news media began revealing more and more specific examples of injustice and oppression. This information keeps me motivated to produce social justice artworks. These artworks are historical documents, reporting the truth about discrimination and violence.
I make the oil paintings with some traditional methods, using underpainting, and then working from deep background toward myself to complete the paintings. I often use exaggerated colors to emphasize the situations in the paintings, to make figures hot or cool, or to make the environment chaotic, frightening, or claustrophobic. Color and value are very important in the production of these paintings.
My drawings are almost always accomplished with decalcomania as a preliminary component of the composition. This adds a dreadful, textured aspect to the drawings. I use graphite wash for this, then create figures and other focal points with various types of charcoal. This produces various values throughout the drawings, while maintaining the drama of high contrast that charcoal naturally brings.
My sculptures are always assemblages, and I often collaborate with other artists to make these. I have worked with a sound engineer and a 3D printing expert on two of these recent sculptures. I enjoy repurposing found objects and adding technological aspects to the works.
The monoprints that I make start out as computer images, made by me or by using altered internet images. I create the images, print them out on a slick format, then transfer the images onto drawing paper. This creates a sort of grainy texture that resembles low contrast photographs. I often use multiple prints on the same work, and often use repeated images or even a palimpsest effect for emphasis.
The message is the thing, but the medium very often supports the message.