While I can paint and create in traditional methods and techniques, including portrait and landscape work, I’ve been drawn, these last few years, to stencil creation and aerosol paint. Typically, I’ll create a background of aerosol and acrylic paints, sometimes as simple as a well-blended fade, sometimes more complex. It really just depends on how much the background is part of the piece’s story.
I’ll then draw and cut a stencil of the major activity of the piece. Influenced by animation, the stencil reflects something of an outline of the foreground imagery. I am proud to say that I’ve never cut myself while cutting a stencil, but it does take some thought to make sure that it will all connect and not leave any orphan spaces.
I then paint the foreground parts in acrylic paint. It’s a bit of a trust exercise, as, to be honest, the piece looks like some kind of weird crap until that last layer. I have to make sure that I paint to where the edges would be, even though it feels disjointed throughout.
Last, I lay the stencil over the canvas and give it a spray. I only get one shot at this–if I screw up and try to go back, only bad things can happen.
In school, I was taught to quit while you were ahead in art, that you can work on something until you mess it up completely and irredeemably. Some goofs only the artist can see, and if you try to fix it, you’ll eventually erase a hole in your paper…or worse.
So it is with this stencil work I’ve been doing. If I screw it up, if something doesn’t line up perfectly, I just have to live with it. I have to come to terms with it and appreciate the “goofs” as part of the character of the piece. It’s uniqueness, like us all, I guess.
As for the subject matter, I’m not a person that can paint away the pain, or stuff like that. I paint because I’m happy, because it makes me happy, because I’m having fun when I draw and paint. I enjoy the activity. I enjoy relating to others what I see in my head. If I come up with something that amuses me, I want others to be able to see it, too.
And so it goes with this work. A lot of stencil work seems to have a need to be edgy, or to make a statement about the corruption and despair and destitution of…whatever. And that’s fine, those artists can have that edge and make that statement. My art is here because the creation of it makes me happy, and if it hangs on your wall and makes you happy, that’s perfectly fine.
Sure there can be deeper meaning found in a piece (the argument has been made that my robot character, Santiago, represents an awkwardness in relating to technology or each other), but, maybe I put just enough there for you to create your own story. Like a good song that we all pull our own meanings from, feel free to assign your own story to my work, whatever it says to you.
I enjoy the process of creating my work, the journey. I have to think this piece out, have the patience to stick to the plan, try not to mess it up, accept the inevitable mess ups, and be happy with the results in the end, and bring happiness to others. Kind of a lot like life.