I make work that takes a 21st century turn in the art historical vein of memento mori. The impetus for my body of work is my longing brought on by near paralyzing fears of loss and death in my youth to connect with something beyond my own mortality. Inspired by my own synchronistic encounters with people, stories, or objects from the past, both ancestrally related and wholly unconnected to me, my work serves as a reminder of inevitable death, yet also as a cautiously optimistic tribute to bygone entities that are allowed to, in a phenomenological sense, live on through the artwork. Negatives tossed out in an alley dumpster, couches recycled through a thrift store, ornamental designs culled from turn-of-the-century stacks objects discarded and overlooked with time. Such historical ephemera act as phenomenological sites, constructing a bridge between the existence of people past with the consciousness of people today and in the future.
My process begins with the Jungian meaningful coincidence the not-so-chance encounter with an historical incident or anecdote or artifact, seemingly insignificant, but curiously imbued with inherent value by the recurrence of its manifestation in my daily life. I never know why these coincidences occur, but I feel they must be meaningful, if only because someone or something from the past needs to be remembered or someone in the ever advancing present needs to be reminded. I feel compelled as a mediator to make a mark for those people and things on the brink of being forgotten, each resulting artwork a quiet monument, venerating the triumphs of Everyman and reassuring myself that there is existence and communication beyond the grave.
My artwork often takes shape in markedly different forms, but the process of my mark making is unvarying. Tedium and repetition are an inherent part of my labor reproducing every line of a Victorian engraving in graphite, embossing every shingle in six-foot-tall replicas of razed houses in my hometown of St. Louis, piping hundreds of royal icing roses to assemble a spray for my own frosted casket. The resulting pieces act as a record of the ceremonious process of creation, apropos the common rites of birth, life and death. The monotonous actions within the process open up to me a meditative space, a place where I feel receptive to the possibility of being guided by some sympathy greater than myself, and a place where I feel at peace with the guarantee of my own mortality. Repetition and reproduction serve as metaphors for the persistence of memory in the face of death, an insistence on making a mark, over and over again, to leave a trace of where we have been and where we may be seen again.