ARTIST’S STATEMENT 1-23-19
Ever since I fell in love with drawing in 1963, I felt a purpose beyond simply creating. In those early, naïve days, I felt I had a purpose: to help make a better world by providing it with art of a special sort...a sort with feelings so extreme, it might exorcise the viewer's pain. That is what made me defy the cruel opposition of my family.
The resultant anger and dissatisfaction with the truths of life that grew in evidence have always driven my work. We were not wealthy; though I went to art courses after high school hours and later college classes, it was my choice not to undergo art school conditioning. A career in art meant independence.
I forged ahead feverishly. In my work, human emotion, casual cruelty and their natural byproduct, pain, are ever-present motifs. In a culture that demands the smothering of truths, I feel I have a mission to express, to speak to others whose needs and feelings are not being addressed in life as well as art; to lash open the curtain to expose the underrepresented beauty of America’s shabby.Joy is another extremity. I parody the excesses of popular culture. The female figures are a culmination of art’s ideals through art history to the voluptuosity of vintage Hollywood, commercial art and the burlesque stage. I depict the “common man’s”wish fulfillments with sensuality swelled to bursting, expressed in rich impasto or heavy slathers of black. I want color you can eat, like rich, frothy bread. In a sole work, I try to encourage the viewer to walk into the frame. I want a roomful of them to swallow the spectator. Inspired by Renaissance drawing, I put serious thought into keeping my figures and backgrounds full bodied and full of motion, to never do anything 'easily', to always twist the figures and perspectives into going that 'extra mile'.
I am at heart an American cartoonist and have a difficulty with segregating my art as ‘African American’. I consider my art to be international; Asian brush paintings, Expressionism, Pop Art; it is better to ask what I am not influenced by. My inspirations span time and globe.