I was born in 1984 and grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Brought up in a family that supported my love for drawing, at 12 I inherited a paint box and easel from my grandmother. From what began with an impromptu still life painting session, I moved onto a self-taught passion for the medium. To this day my artistic practice is entirely focused on painting. I graduated from Emily Carr University with a Visual Arts BFA in 2010. Utilizing this broader understanding of art history and critical theory, I now work on several painting series at once. I’m best known for my paintings of vintage aluminum trailers, and BC old growth forests. Both series deal with abstraction in an round-about way, finding the unrecognizable through photography, nature and distorted reflection. Through strictly following the photos I base my paintings on, I find more random, stranger, and unknown imagery than if I invented it., Unlike photography, if made up from my mind, I'll inadvertently organize elements and make the picture “easier” for myself to achieve.
When I first started painting I was struck by Surrealism, and the airstream paintings touch on the more obscure ideas in Bataillean surrealism such as animal print camouflage, doubled imagery and formlessness. Each composition creates an object-ground relationship similar to animal mimicry, where the trailer hides in its surroundings through reflection. And personally I love that the viewer is presented with the imaginary pictorial space behind them. I think it adds a frightening aspect to a very mundane setting. To get the photography the paintings are based on, I attend many vintage trailer rallies, traveling as far as Pismo Beach, California. Since it's my photographs, each reflection is a micro self-portrait, although through the distorted fun house mirror image, it can be difficult to find figures at all. Either the perceived vantage point is from an odd disembodied gaze, or the visible mirrored body is faceless, elongated, and in a precarious environment cohabited with the unknown.
My other prolific paintings series is entitled Nature’s Cathedral which depicts vibrant and exaggerated images of BC tree canopies. I was first motivated to create this body of work when I read the short story Cathedral by Raymond Carver in which a character who is not able to describe a cathedral to a blind man then loses himself in an overwhelming and transformative feeling which is often attributed to the experience of cathedral architecture. I then connected this phenomenon to descriptions of the Byzantine church Hagia Sophia and also how I once felt in front of the Rothko painting No. 16, 1957 at the National Gallery. I had my own epiphany when I realized that old growth forests were too like a cathedral interior because both use a combination of natural light, expanding space, and shimmering colour to create a feeling of elation and dematerialization in the viewer. This series also makes me feel connected to the trajectory of Canadian art set by the Group of Seven, most notably Emily Carr's forest paintings and Lawren Harris’s theological landscape.
Currently, I paint full time out of my studio in Vancouver and I often take photo trips to support new paintings. I hope to continue my airstream and forest artwork but I have imagined starting new series based on actual cathedral architecture, glass still lifes, and figures in motion.