I paint abstract artworks that are active, energetic and full of movement – which is why I've started calling them my Kinetic Abstracts. My pieces are a visual representation of the way that I think. I often find my thoughts jump around from one curiosity to another, constantly on the look out to discover new things and come up with new ideas. This wild, imaginative feeling is what I hope to bring to life through my art.
Though my formal creative training is in graphic design, after nearly a decade of designing for businesses and corporations, I found myself wrestling with idea that even the most original designs are built to have a purpose, produce results, and create near-identical user experiences. It's rare that a design is made to simply be enjoyed. It's creativity, but with a job to do. When I
realized that I was feeling this way, I decided to shift my focus toward fine arts, and boy, has it been a wild ride so far.
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My art is inspired by three of the fundamentally beautiful aspects of life – to love, to think, and to play. Love is vibrant, impactful and colourful; at first sight it makes an impression, and sparks a feeling. Thinking is what drives connection and builds the lines that lead to new discoveries and understandings. Play is spontaneous and wild; it’s the character that provokes wonder, and the texture that makes something unique. These incredible expressions of our consciousness are so difficult to capture which is likely why I’m so compelled by them as my artistic inspiration.
My creative process most often starts with a selection of colours and a paint-stained putty knife. The hard, straight edge and flat surface gives me the flexibility to paint large swaths of colour, delicate lines, or irregular textures. For most of my paintings this one tool is all I need but when a piece requires just a little something extra, I often gravitate toward other unconventional painters' tools like combs, plastic wrap, and bits of foam to add playful spontaneity to my work. It's through this technique that my pieces find their way, their voice, and their unique style. .
Although my art career is just ramping up, I've been fortunate enough to participate in not one, but two gallery opening exhibitions as well as over a dozen online and in-person art shows. I'm an active member of Toronto's Artists' Network and oh, so many artist groups on social media. Basically, I live and breathe for creativity and I'm so excited to be continuing on this amazing artistic journey for years and years to come.
My Creative Process
A creative process is what takes a blank canvas and turns it into a finished piece. Without it, art is nothing more than an abstract idea rather than an abstract work of art. This is my process:
Painting inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes I wake up with an idea for a piece floating in my mind. Sometimes it’s a culmination of different elements and thought processes coming together and becoming a concept. On the days when the epiphanies aren’t flowing, I like to get my inspiration by getting out of the house and going for a walk and like most of us these days, I have my phone with me at all times. Although the photos I take with it are unlikely to win any awards, it works exceptionally well to briefly capture the beauty and vision of what’s all around me.
Focusing Through Unfocusing
When basing a work off of a photograph I’ve taken, it's not about what’s in the image. I focus on the elements that make up the whole of it - colour, contrast and composition. Once I’ve picked an image that catches my eye, I take away all of it’s defining features by adding a blur filter to it. This step has been one of the most pivotal changes to my work. It’s so easy to get caught in minute details when working off a photograph - it can become a challenge of mimicry rather than a source of inspiration. By removing that barrier I am able to focus on the elements I find more expressive and impactful.
Adding the Colour Base
Once I have a rough composition reference, it’s time to put paint on the page. I start by applying large areas of colours with my putty knife. I try to stick to 3-5 different hues but it varies depending on my image and size that I’m working with. I love using vibrant colour. I often use paints at their full saturation and only use tints and tones to affect the value rather than to dull the intensity of a hue.
Mixing & Stitching
The first colour base doesn’t need to be perfect. It acts as a general guide to build the rest of the composition. Once it’s been painted, then comes the fun part. This is when I let my imagination run wild and my vision take the lead. I blend my colours together using lines to create a paint stitching technique - a style that developed organically using putty knives as my painting tool. This creates a personal look to my work and adds to the character of it. I let my eye dictate where I use this mixing and blending style, sometimes straying dramatically from the initial reference image that inspired the piece in the beginning. Like I said, this is the fun part.
Layering on Texture
With the colour mixed and the composition taking shape, it’s time to add some dramatic flair. I love using black and white to add bold and striking texture to my pieces. I often alternate between adding these rough elements and stitching colours together. As the putty knife scrapes against other layers of paint it leaves a crude and sporadic paint trail, creating areas that are packed with interesting elements. I use items like combs, plastic wrap, stamps and other tools to build up layers of organic lines and textures until the piece is complete. Sometimes this process takes multiple days and rounds of colour and texture to get it just right.
Edging & Sealing
This is the point when I decide if a piece is finished. I can stare at a piece of art for hours and not know if it’s done or not. When that happens, I will put it aside and look at it the next day and hopefully like it better than the day before, and even better the next day. Some of my favourite pieces were ones where I could add more but something tells me to wait. Once I’ve given myself the chance to appreciate my own work and fall in love with it, only then I will put on the final acrylic sealant and finish up any edges with a fresh touch up of paint.
Scaling my Work
I often work in a small scale with many of my pieces no larger than 12 inches tall. This serves a few different purposes:
Functionality - I truly believe that artwork belongs in every room of the home and not every room has the space for a large scale piece of art on the wall. Small artworks, especially ones that can be placed on table tops, are such a simple way of bringing life and creativity into an area.
Studio space - My studio is also my home, and living in the city that means large amounts of open floor and wall space are hard to come by. Where I could put one large art piece, I can put dozens of small, individual works.
Miniature prototypes - Sometimes I find it hard to commit to a large piece given my studio space restrictions. By making many smaller pieces, I’m often motivated by the artwork itself and am excited to create larger, more prominent versions. I name these pairings minima / maxima with both pieces clearly stemming from the same inspiration but his textures and technique are individual to themselves.
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