1.) Have you always done surrealism or did you start with more traditional?
I started as a photorealistic portrait artist, which I was able to earn good money
from and declare myself as a self employed artist... I became limited with self
expression and felt I had more of a voice, but I didn’t know what that was, so I
started with abstraction, the work was turbulent and dark, much like my life at that particular time. I then started visiting the US and doing a lot of self-work, my life blossomed and it took my style in a whole new direction, gradually over time my art became more colorful and surreal. In the past two years I have started to bring my photorealism skills into my bright psychedelic abstraction, which feels to me, so clearly like my personality and ‘voice’ that it’s weird I wasn’t always painting this way.
2.) What about surrealism draws you to it?
I just love anything weird, conformity and dogma makes me uncomfortable, I love variety and surprises, and anything that stretches me think differently.
3.) What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m reworking old works I made before I had my distinct style... so I’m
using photorealistic parts of portraits and adding my surreal abstract colorful
landscapes on top. I’ve also got into doing miniatures.
4.) You just curated an exhibition in TriBeCa. Were the artists all surrealists / what was the overall link between the artists involved?
The link was the theme ‘Transformation’, I tend to prefer painting and drawing, and that’s what was in the show, I basically chose works I loved!
5.) Do you work with other mediums?
Only the spiritual haha... um... I was using spray paint, acrylic, and ink quite a bit but now I have returned to oil paint as I just love its luscious quality, I use organic paint with pigment directly from nature.
6.) Where do you typically find the inspiration for your pieces? Is the inspiration typically internal about yourself or external such as politics, cultural events, etc.?
It’s mostly internal inspiration, I tend to gravitate from that quiet place deep within. I believe there is real truth to the surreal, intense meditation allows me to access places that feel very abstract and surreal, it feels like a reality that rests gently below and through the one we humans move in day-to-day. This surreal place is what I paint.
7.) What artists, surrealists or not, that inspire you?
I love the craziness of Yayoi Kusama. Dali is mentioned a lot when people look at my art, and what an honor, he is one of my favorites without a doubt. I admire Damien Hirst for his reinvention of what art and business can be, I hope the idea of a starving artist is dying out, or at least, I don’t feel starving is a badge of honor, especially with the rise in entrepreneurialism it’s becoming easier to carve your own way, challenging of course, but perhaps easier. Though, I’ve been mindful to have a wide price range, artists still need to make money in order to make more art, and eat! My big aim is to create significant wealth so I can invest in influencing the education system. Education is where real change begins, and I’m passionate about helping people think and behave for the better. I try to be mindful about learning from my own mistakes and misfortunes, as I believe we are here to grow. Hirst was on my mind when I curated the ‘Transformation’ exhibit, like him, I took charge of my art career and put on an exhibit showcasing my own art with others. I think one needs a certain amount of confidence to do that, to say, yeah I chose my own work to be in the group show I curated, haha. My artist peers inspire me greatly, I have a small collection of their work, it feels good to invest in their future success, plus I get to enjoy their art on my walls now.
8.) What piece are you most proud of?
The self portrait ‘You Are The Universe’, it’s highly spiritual and feels different to
what I’ve seen before. Plus I enjoy the reactionary gasp people make when they
see it, and also when they discover it is painted.
9.) We're beginning to see more surrealism in film and television by directors such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Tarsem Singh, and Guillermo del Toro. Do you think surrealism will become more common across more mainstream channels?
Hmm, I think this may be to do with the rise in mindfulness, meditation, and even, perhaps the rise in alternative mind-expanding therapies.
10.) Is there any music choice you gravitate towards while painting?
I have fairly eclectic taste in music and there are a few tracks I like to play on
repeat, recently it’s been “I’ve Got a Feelin’” by Macy Todd, it’s just so sexy and
revs me up. I tend to start the flow of a piece while listening to music and then switch to a non-fiction audiobook (usually about psychology), I then get absorbed in the book and seem to paint subconsciously.