Birds are a recurring motif in these paintings. Could you speak to their importance in this body of work?
“It was a thematic choice, to break away from pure abstraction, and have imagery. I wanted something you can't capture that is full of movement. Imagery allows me to be a little more specific but not too illustrative. I took a simple idea, played with it and then it grew. The birds have a poetry of movement to them, as Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers”. There’s a flowing atmospheric constant to them, as if they are flying off the canvas and moving through space. There’s an illusion of movement.”
What role has Maine played throughout your career as an artist?
“The collaboration with individuals throughout my career is why I love working in Maine. It’s not only artists I collaborate with but also other hand-skilled workers; welders, carpenters, electricians, etc, that all have incredible skills. As an industrial artist, I find working here has made it easier for me to work on a bigger, more physical scale. We have authenticity in Maine and I love working with others who share that sentiment.”
As an acclaimed & prolific Maine artist, what advice/insight would you give to up-and-coming Maine artists?
“To not lose your authenticity, to remain who you are and to do what you want in order to create. But to also get out of Maine, go see the world and experience things. I found we are very lucky to have the culture we have here. Maine has nurtured my authenticity. Maine has been so important to me and I’m very grateful.”
Do you have a predetermined structure for each piece when you begin or does that come naturally as you embark on an empty canvas?
“No, none whatsoever. I do stick to a theme, like music in the background. I always try to stay within some form of a box, repeat the same thing differently and keep myself interested…keep it intriguing. I love being in the studio and responding to my art making and the process involved.”
What is the inspiration behind your marquee sign “Bluebird”.
“It came from a negative experience actually. We moved my junior year of high school to southern Maryland and we stopped by this hotel/restaurant called The Bluebird Hotel. I soon found out it was a hotel specifically for African Americans. It was where they were allowed to stay because they weren't allowed many other places. It shocked me that this was the way it was down South. It was a cultural shock to me coming from Maine. This sign has a powerful soul and is more than just a pretty bird. It is a pretty thing but it is also a dark thing, a symbol of segregation. The sign is an invitation to a Green-Book hotel and it’s a symbol or insight into a dark time in our history."