My work in the creative arts has emerged from personal tragedy, plenty of migration and a desire to discover divergence and convergence in artistic expression. I consider myself a mixed-media artist employing techniques which include: video, photography, graphic design, 3d design, computer hacks, and experimental sound design. The concepts and techniques utilized in my work have evolved from particular experiences in my life and are derived from both a technical curiosity and the reflexive and interactive nature of this process. Ultimately, I am interested in those moments where traditional relationships between producer and consumer become undone and are replaced with new artistic methods for producing meaning and singularity in the residual space.
I would call this my method, though I do not call it my process because for obvious reasons it is still evolving. I have always worked to a certain extent by setting up parameters and constraints for a given project. Parameters include such things as media, size, and aspect ratio, as well as working methods, thematic content, and titling. Setting parameters includes giving myself the freedom to change them when they don’t work, as well as looking for potential avenues of exploration beyond the rules I set for myself. Lately, this has meant that I’ve been looking at my practice as a whole rather than as separate activities in specific media.
This has sometimes made me think beyond the media I am familiar with and ask whether there are better ways to achieve my goals than in the media or technique I’ve chosen. In tandem with my process of setting parameters, I have a tendency to become serially obsessed with specific ideas or practices. This applies to my life in the studio as well as outside it. Once I have targeted a subject, I try to learn as much as I can about it, or deeply explore an area of art practice, moving on to a new area once my hunger is sated. In the studio, most of my obsessions have had to do with media: Photography, film, music, printmaking, however, I want to expand into new materials and mediums.
As for my recurring imagery, I prefer to look at my exploration of the ineffable through stylized figures in a given space as a continuing theme rather than an obsession.Artist Bruce Nauman once said: “One of the factors that still keeps me in the studio is that every so often I have to more or less start over.” His words resonated with me a few years back. Everyone experiences disappointment differently. To me, it came in the form of conformity. After many years in the music industry, my drive and creativity came to a somber low. I was in need of a change but it was a family emergency that brought me to Olympia where I found myself back in the studio. This time, in my own studio where I was meant to start over again.
Like most artists, I approached disappointment as an opportunity to start something new. To reinvent me. That is when I realized that starting over meant exploring other avenues of creativity in new mediums. I bought a DSLR camera and went off into the unknown, as an autodidact I researched and practiced until I got the desired results, and though I was happy with the outcome, I still felt lost, without direction. It wasn’t until I looked into education that I realized where I was going with this.
Becoming a Docent in the Arts has always been in the back of my mind, so I decided my third act would be to finally finish school and mature into the Artist I always wanted to be, all while achieving the balance and stability I always desired. My undergraduate studies thus far have significantly broadened and deepened my interests in visual and media art. I remain interested in experimental modes, specifically in the models they offer for defamiliarization-as-methodology for creating critical histories and for artmaking, and why not for future pedagogical strategy in the classroom. I imagine this process of ‘making strange’ not as some attempt at objectivity but as a way of opening a subject out for wider viewing, and as a way to get outside those disciplinary or other conceptual confines that actually limit, rather than expand, our critical capacity.
I implemented this approach in some of my portraits included in the portfolio, Images one, two and three are part of the same project. During my time at SPSCC, the Diversity and equity center asked me to produce some images for their space that represented their philosophy as well as their diversity in ethnicity. This is where the first ideas of beauty, the concept of identity and the fragmentation of oneself came about, which I later explored in other pieces seen in the portfolio such as the Facemelt video. I chose the double exposure technique because it mirrored diversity and it was a great way to emphasize the construct of people’s identity at the DEC.
The notion of transition countenance and texture as they relate to light and space is one I would like to investigate further at UW. I value these years of study because I gained a much more complicated understanding of issues of representation, spectatorship, the intersections of art, popular culture, mass media, studio practices, video, photography and film in a historical context. But most of all, I began to understand the strict divisions in place, both in academia and in the art/ production worlds between so-called critical or theoretical work and so-called creative work, and I began to understand the difficult position I occupy in relation to them. I don’t know these worlds to be so disparate, and from what I know of it, the Art department at The University of Washington offers an environment that encourages work that defies these kinds of distinctions.
I see my work responding to that of other film/video/photo artists which engages visual language and critical ideas in interesting ways. I have been particularly influenced by some of the work of Andrew Thomas Huang an LA-based artist which, delves into a philosophical theory that only one’s own mind is sure to exist, therefore anything outside one’s own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist, this creates the illusion of a white spatial canvas where I can control everything inside it without regard to any outside source. This kind of work inspires and invigorates me like nothing else because it compels me to respond with work of my own. My desire to pursue an MFA in Photomedia at UW stems in part from my need to resume this dialogue. I particularly appreciate the department’s commitment to and support of work that challenges ethnic and generic divisions especially because of my own, and the strong tradition of work around human expression and visual culture that continues to be fostered there.
Thank you for your consideration.