The philosophy I have relied on throughout my career is one of diversity and versatility. Rather than concentrate on one solution for one problem, I concentrate on creating a variety of works relying on a diversity of styles, concepts and appropriations which differ on consideration of the prospective viewer, venue and conceptual purpose. Although conceptually diverse, these multiple methods influence one another and continually weave through new artistic avenues.
The most popular method I use is based on the influential traditions of the Regionalist artists. This tradition speaks not only to my own artistic roots as a Midwesterner but also is an aesthetic the local community recognizes and relates with. Utilizing this style provides viewers with a fresh, and often romantic, perspective of their environment but it also leaves room to subtly touch on contemporary issues, such as the workers in the service industry or certain environmental or political situations.
There are other methods I use when collaborating with the public. One uses a device-essentially a pendulum carrying cans of paint- called “Crazy Dave’s Centripetal Line Generator.” The device lets individual participants glide lines of paint over a large canvas, thereby making each a participant a collaborative artist of the final piece. Another method involves tracing the silhouettes of participants onto a large canvas. These participants are also considered collaborators in the project and the randomly overlapping silhouettes become the structural basis of the painting which I then complete. These experimental, interactive paintings act as educational tools promoting creativity and art historical education to the public.
Beyond these methods is the work of Harrison Bergeron. Bergeron is a character developed from the polygenesis, trickster archetype, with traits appropriated from artistic biographies, mythologies, and literature. Like his character, his artwork is molded from historical references and bound to contemporary implications with the goal of causing viewers to question preconceived historical and modern “truths”. These works extend beyond just painting and incorporate film, animation, and performance, fully submerging the viewer into an informational deluge. The work of Bergeron is a skeptical critique of man’s repetitive, habitual follies, showing that the calamities festering within contemporary politics have antecedent similarities.
Experimenting with an array of artistic philosophies and possibilities is a privilege of this post-modern era. Through innovation, experimentation and collaboration we now have opportunities to participate in an assortment of explorations, some frightening and others endearing. Through this variety, new art is made that inspires, educates, and critically examines the current human condition.