Studio Painter & Visual Artist
"I can’t label myself anymore."
I call myself a painter because my practice has been painting. I’ve dabbled in murals, stencils, stuff on the streets, stop motion videos, collaborating with a dancer, and in making comics. I’ve built a level of confidence that I would not have gathered had I painted on canvas my whole life.
"I’ve done many different things but I’ve not left anything behind. I have just carried it forward."
Every time I stand in front of a wall I’m scared shitless in front of it. I’m nervous before I start. I see everything with a certain kind of perfection and feel that I can’t do it. Imagine that you’re just standing there confronted by this large wall… just to gauge its magnitude is hard. There’s never a point when I’m satisfied or when it’s easy. The situation is never comfortable. But when you finally get your proportions right and figure out how to gracefully treat a surface, you feel humbled. You feel that there’s so much more to learn than whatever you’ve learned so far.
"You have to cross some of your demons to be who you are."
Coming out of the studio has been very rewarding. I’m a very private person and I feel very shy when it comes to showing people my sketchbooks. Public art is about showing what you can do on an even larger canvas. I’m not the only one gazing at what I’m doing. A whole lot of people are reacting. In a way, I’m taking far more responsibility than if I were doing something in the studio. I was once a completely introverted person. I wouldn’t speak to anyone, given a chance. I still don’t. But when I’m on the streets, I have to speak, I have to perform. I tell different stories to different people so I’m like a jester. It’s funny how I’ve changed myself. When you train to be an artist, you’re trained to have a vision and an idea. There’s so much you read, take in and filter. Now, I can choose to do anything and that’s the challenge. The vision changes. I’m never comfortable at any point.
"Who was this 'me' that I was once holding on to? And why was I holding on in such a sacrosanct way?"
There is no “me,” no person that I have to live up to anymore. I think I can do these things on the street because it makes me feel like a child again. I used to climb trees when I was a kid and now I climb ladders. I do stupid things on scaffoldings but I’m not scared. I feel I have my foot firmly on the ground when I’m working. There’s a sense of self-assurance that I feel which is like when I was a child. I have the freedom to envision things that I haven’t imagined before. I’m on another level of being when I’m out on the street. You don’t have any rules. You can’t be a person or a thing. You’re one in a million.
"The impermanence means that you can’t take yourself too seriously."
I can laugh at myself now… I’ve become less of myself from my past. In the end, I’m not looking for a direction, I’m not looking to make a statement, I’m not looking for people to recognize my work because it follows a certain trend. I don’t really like reminiscing over the things that I paint. I’m not interested in the past at all. I’m with the moment. Each experience leads me to do something more, and different, and new. I’m just curious, not tough or brave. Just curious about things I don’t know.
"I’m building everything as I go along."
I think a good part of my life, I have been trying to relearn what I have learned and also to discard what I have learned. I feel very hopeful with what I’m doing. When I’m about to die I want to look back and say, “My god, I’ve done everything.” That’s a good rush - to always be on your toes, never be satisfied, never be informed. To always break my own boundaries.
"Not knowing where you’re headed, the uncertainty, about everything that’s not there and not visible. That is such a beautiful thing."