When did you develop these ethereal dreamscapes and why are you drawn to them?
After I graduated from UNF (University of North Florida) in 2013, I started experimenting more with painting and I wanted to explore a new theme. When I was in college I was obsessed with painting about my own medical condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and I painted a lot of medical instruments and about being trapped in my own body, many times it felt like that because to this day I use a wheelchair to move around. In the months after I finished school I came to realize that in fact I have always traveled and gone places thanks to my dreams and my endless imagination, that in fact my physical body cannot stop me from dreaming and traveling to unexplored places in my mind. I have always had vivid dreams and naturally I found a way to bring my dreamscapes to life through my paintings. And the viewer somehow can relate to my work, I hope.
What symbolism is working in this collection? How is it working in across images like “Disappearance,” “Cette Vie,” and “Emily”?
Mainly they are about recurring dreams that we have every now and then and how important it is to embrace them; many times our own subconscious is trying to tell us something about ourselves like our fears and desires. I use balloons in my paintings because they represent dreams in general and how easily we can wake from them, while at the same time they represent life itself.
From which other artists do you draw inspiration on form? On color? On technique? Or other aspects of your art?
My list is very long but I’ll have to say that Vermeer and other Netherlandish painters have been a great inspiration when it comes to the size of the work and how intimate their small paintings feel in a museum setting. But I also get inspiration from contemporary artist such as Adrian Ghenie, Michael Borremans, Alex Kanevsky. These artists’ works somehow, in my eyes, have a dreamlike quality as well as a nightmarish one.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I have been working just on small sketches and drawings, mostly of dreamlike portraits of people that have touched my life in a significant way. These drawings are a way for me to keep making art while I come up with new ideas and an exciting concept. I’m also about to start a Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Georgia and sketching is helping me to get a head start with future school projects.
In 2012, you were the Grand Prize recipient of Momentum: A National Juried Exhibition for emerging artists with disabilities. How has disability influenced your work as an artist? Has it influenced your understanding of art?
When I was a child I couldn’t play with the other neighborhood kids so I used to draw and escape to other places using the power of imagination and this has inspired me to create some of my dreamscapes. My mobility issues have made me enjoy more the little things in life since I know how difficult it was for me to get to some places. Like when I went to the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa for the first time, while many people were taking pictures, I was trying to reconcile in my head the famous image against the reproduction I have so often seen in art history books, and I was also thinking that it was a challenge to get to the front of the multitude of people to see it and have that intimate moment with this great work of art.
Where can we find more of your work?
Well right now my work came down from being shown at Florida Mining Gallery. I do have a public Facebook page where I share pictures of my drawings, paintings, and the technical process of some of those paintings. I also have a website where I only published pictures of the finished paintings.