My paintings are a focused exploration of color, texture and form. I utilize a saturated color palette, off-kilter compositional arrangements and a photorealistic painting style to encourage the viewer to take a closer look at objects that are often ignored.
The subjects of most of my paintings are vintage neon signs from the 1940s – 1970s. All my life I’ve loved them, and have always had an appreciation of pop culture and design from the era in which they were created. It was the heyday of the road trip where intrepid travelers encountered classic roadside attractions such as pink dinosaurs, Tee Pee motels, and coffee shops featuring futuristic Googie architecture. The design aesthetic was inspired by the Atomic Age and the Space Race and reflected a sense of optimism for the imminent future in which everyone would be driving flying cars and enjoying endless leisure time, thanks to the robots who would be doing all the manual labor.
I don’t think my fascination with this era is nostalgia – not least of all because how can you be nostalgic for a time before you were born? Also, an underlying component of nostalgia is the idea that the past was better, which certainly is not the case. This was also the time of Jim Crow and McCarthyism and the beginning of the Cold War. Rusty, broken, neglected signs are far more interesting to me as subject matter than ones that have been pristinely maintained and lovingly restored – though I applaud, appreciate, and encourage preservation and restoration efforts. The broken ones seem more “true” to me. They embody not only what is, but the potential of what could be.