My approach to painting takes almost an archival look at digital imagery. Over the past four years, I have accumulated dozens of photos, and hundreds of images found in networked spaces on the internet. A large portion of my archive is collected from dating apps, homoerotic visual culture, and imagery that references things from my personal life. I can’t really say how one image jumps out and chooses me, or I it. It just happens. I can say that I only work from subjects that have inspired or moved me. These images act as the starting point for my paintings, a kind of foundation, for the proceeding formal, and painterly decisions.
The current body of work creates a space where the visibility, or conversely, the censoring, of identity is explored. I manipulate color, texture, and shape through the covering of subject matter with fields of paint. I also tightly crop imagery, presenting to the viewer a part rather than a whole—soliciting desire. And I consider the painting’s internal light or illumination, through a technique of layering paint in between image transfers, affecting the visibility of the subject matter. My compositional strategies are inspired by gay male visual representations found in dating apps. Commonly the user will upload an image of themselves from the neck down, use an unrelated image in place of a traditional profile picture, block out their face with a digital scrawl, or utilize no picture at all—leaving a void in its place. Whether I fully appropriate one of the images, or reference them through my painting process, the images themselves become as much a painting medium as the acrylic paint. Appropriate, for our age of visual distraction constituted by viral reproduction, consumption, and excess. I want my viewers to consider how the gay male body contemporarily endures the burden of representation. A burden that’s not so different from our historical past.