Giving Life to the Community
I grew up in a rural working class community, in Western Tennessee, though I have no ancestry in the region. Ethnically, I am Euro-American Indian (French, Oglala- Mdwakanton- Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota/Lakota), and have been independent since age seventeen. Needing an urban setting for my interests in art and music, I found Memphis, a city of which, in itself (as a place), continues to define and influence my work and consciousness. Today I call the San Francisco/Oakland area home.
Music has now become secondary to painting, an accessory to the painting process, an inspiration and alternative outlet. Present in my work is a sense of place, and the paintings often seem to me as the products of the struggle to represent and interpret a half-remembered sense of where I'm from, even though they sometimes describe a barren, uninhabitable dreamscape. They are, in a sense, attempts at a visual representation of my roots geographic, auditory, political, personal, familial, a description of an identity forged in the American Deep South.
I began to choose architectural spaces that I felt would relate faithfully to my painting process spaces that I know and see in my daily life that I felt would provide rich sources for painterly exploration, on one hand symbolize for me social issues regarding class difference, marginalization and alienation on the other. The form of realism I had long practiced is now giving way to a kind of abstraction; the work seems like a hybrid of the two. I am now interested in creating images simply from a desire to make interesting and meaningful work. The works have equally derived from typical modernist concerns about pictorial flatness through color modulation as they have been about conveying a mood and message.