Thanks, yeah, I feel super strong about that piece. To be honest, it kind of marks a big shift in my work. Not sure I would quite say a catalyst per se, but it kind of felt like me letting go of some things that weren’t working and embracing some new directions. This piece was made during a mentorship that I was doing by the grace of the Canada Council for the Arts in Vancouver. I was working on a lot of classical drawing training with Justin, like hours and hours and hours a week of life drawing, painting, portraiture.
It was great, my skill level took a quantum leap, I was able to hack out a solid portrait in like thirty minutes, which was amazing! So this piece is kind of hilarious to me because it was exactly the opposite of what I was learning, being fine-tuned drawing and anatomy skills. Though I was in a way mirroring Justin’s practice a bit, he works on these super tight drawings and is amazingly skilled in the traditional sense, and then he also makes these super wacky exciting paintings. So, I was also doing that, trying to undo some rigidity and allow myself to be weirder.
The figures in the piece were based off these two figures from a homoerotic men’s physique magazine from the ‘50s who were wrestling. Then as I started the piece, we started having these conversations about 'obsessive surfaces' as a metaphor for skin, and this kind of obsessive, over-worked, over-retouched, photoshopped, facetuned, botoxed, steroided, dysmorphic depiction of the body I see online began coming to mind. So, I started creating all these studies and using polished surfaces, mica car pigments, using a syringe to paint on tiny dots onto the surface for hours. It was really stimulating. It was definitely a gateway to what I am working on now, which is still thinking about skin in an obsessive way but appropriating an old master painting technique and thinking about a historical perspective on nudity.