In the Autumn of 2010 I re-read the Epic of Gilgamesh. It struck me. Not only as a timeless story of love and friendship- but the imagery and texture of the tale struck me too. It is believed to be the oldest written human story, and yet, it is timeless. I could talk endlessly about the archetypes it established and the beauty of its message. But the point is that it captured my imagination.
At the same time, I was living in South Bend, and working at the University of Notre Dame. In-between lifeguarding shifts and teaching freshman how to drown... err... less, I would spend a few hours in the campus art museum. That museum has a fantastic collection- and I was enamored by their pre-columbian collection. I spent entire afternoons sketching pottery- intrigued by the simple, black lines and wide circular eyes. I devoured books on Picasso and Miro. Somewhere this all merged with my love of the forest and of the church... and voila! Martyrs and Monsters.
So what am I trying to say through my art? There is a deep, deep, spiritual world that we often ignore- but its not as dark as all that. I like to think of the natural world as intensely spiritual- connected with the past- and yet- full of joy and mirth. I don't think that even the darkest aspects of existence are really that scary. Perhaps that betrays my extreme optimism, but that is simply what I believe and it shows in my art. Life, Death, Adventure and Art are all the joyous expressions of creativity.
This series would not have been possible without the encouragement and critique of countless friends and family who sat with me on the floor of my apartment/studio/basement etc. listening to Cat Stevens for hours on end. Thank you. Thanks especially to Mike and Megan Gilger, Angela Lister, Caleb Stinson, Tim and Sherry Grant, Sue-Ann Round, Jack and Bobbi Graves, and everyone who has fed me, housed me, given me art supplies or bought my work in the past few years. I love you all.
I hope that you enjoy the paintings- I really enjoyed painting them- and I hope that you will purchase them so that I can go back to France. ;)