What kind of art do you do?
In short, I create three-dimensional paintings made entirely out of paint. At first glance, most people take it for granted as an actual object but under investigation they realize that it’s made out of paint. Most people define my work as sculpture but I tend to disagree. I rather define them as paintings because that’s what they’re made of, strictly paint. At one point, people were saying that painting is dead in this digital world but I see painting as learning this new technique to survive and stay fresh. Paint still has some tricks up its sleeve.
What does being an artist mean to you?
I believe that being an artist is a way of expressing yourself or sharing your ideas to the public in a visual way. A way of making them see something that they haven’t before or to create an awareness of any sort.
Where are you from?
I have lived in many places without really being able to call a place “home.” My faamily moved around a lot when I was younger but I have lived in the Midwest the longest and used to call that “home,” but Shreveport has definitely taken over that title.
How long have you lived in Shreveport?
My parents moved to Shreveport back when I was in college so I was always visiting during the holidays or when I was on break. It wasn’t until a year after I graduated from graduate school that I moved back and but I was technically an adjunct instructor at my Alma Mater, teaching one to two classes a semester. They were compressed accelerated courses that lasted only a month so during the rest of the school year I was back in Shreveport. After awhile, I was hired as an adjunct instructor at Bossier Parish Community College and, luckily, it turned into a full-time teaching position.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Students in my classes always love to hear this story. Originally, I was a bio-chem major and considering dentistry as a profession. I was required to take an elective which turned out to be my first art class. As I was taking the course, I found that I loved working with my hands and thoroughly enjoyed reading and studying art theory. This ignited my interest in art and I was hooked ever since. I also loved sharing my passion in art with others which also lead me to teaching. My parents always told me to consider teaching as a backup plan but I knew that I wanted to teach at the college or university level.
Did you have any idols/role models that helped facilitate this dream?
To be honest, it all began with my art advisor Tony Plaut at Cornell College, located in Mt. Vernon, IA. He was my main inspiration to pursue art as a profession and he was my first art instructor. After that, it was every single art professor I encountered in my classes. They all taught me the value of the critique, professionalism in the arts, and working as a practicing artist. All of them brought something to the table which are instilled in me when I teach or paint every day.
Tell us about the first piece of art you ever completed/sold?
I always recall the first lesson in my Design I class. Our professor (Tony Plaut) made us all move our desks in a circle and placed our stools in a huge pile in the middle of the group. He immediately told us to “Paint!” and most of us didn’t really know what we were doing. I think we were just shocked a comical yet monstrous mountain of stools. For us, it was the “sink or swim” moment as artists. Luckily, some already knew how to swim, some others sunk, and some even floated.
What’s your favorite place/thing to do in Shreveport-Bossier?
I always look forward to attending various events in the area ranging from theatrical productions, art receptions, the tea series at CoHab, hanging out at Rhino, and so on. I also like to drive around the Shreveport-Bossier area with my girlfriend to explore new locations. I’m always finding hidden gems that I never knew of before.
How, if at all, has the Shreveport-Bossier artistic scene changed while you’ve been working within it?
As not being a native of the area, I have had the privilege of being welcomed into the art community, to hear how it’s grown over time, and to become a part of what it is today. I was sad to leave a great art community when I lived up north but to see another one come to fruition in this area is a true delight. I think that the UNscene events show a lot of potential for this area and I hope to see things which enrich the community like this carry on.
What words of advice would you give to young – or old – people pursuing an artistic life..
Coming from someone who changed their major from the field of science to art, I would express that you should follow your passion in life. Also, don’t be afraid to learn new things or to keep sketching.
What do you hope people feel from looking at your work? Gain? Experience?
I hope that people can see what paint can really do or at least recognize that there are a lot of things out there that we haven’t yet seen. I always love it when there’s a person who has never seen my work before and they realize it’s entirely made out of paint. They have taken this object for granted and then they can appreciate its material once they see what it has done. The paint has become the object and vice versa.