About My Work
I began to draw steadily on a daily basis when I was a child and my subject matter was Nature. When I was a teenager I became an amateur naturalist and collected all sorts of natural specimens while on vacation in the mountains or on the beach. At the same time, I began to read books about ethology, ecology, and art history. Then I examined how we connected with the natural world in mythological narratives and fairy tales of my own and other cultures.
I was an art student at Edinburgh College of Art between 1994 and 2000. During that time I drew sketches on location and created paintings in the studio. My mind was filled with artworks by William Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, the German expressionists, Anselm Kiefer, Susan Rothenberg and Mark Rothko.
I was also producing series of black and white photographs with a film camera and experimenting with analog video and super 8 film. I admired photographers like Robert Frank, Ansel Adams and Henry Cartier-Bresson. I also appreciated video and performance artists like Bill Viola and Laurie Anderson.
Eventually, I expanded the boundaries of my canvas to include its surroundings and created site-specific installations that explored the relationship between man and nature. It was then that I added found objects, sound and text. I was attracted to the works of Jenny Holzer, Hamish Fulton, Louise Bourgeois, James Turrell, Yoko Ono and Marina Abramović, just to name a few.
As a cultural resource technician for the Forest Service at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State, U.S., I had the opportunity to learn more about the local indigenous people’s relationship with Nature, and, as a naturalist-artist, I created a series of sketchbooks filled with drawings of the local flora and fauna.
After settling in the coast of Puget Sound, the idea of community art projects resonated with me for the first time. I felt the need to step outside my comfort zone in order to develop a more inclusive connection between my artwork and the public. I reevaluated my role as an artist and considered myself a ‘facilitator’ following the footsteps of Joseph Beuys who saw himself as a modern shaman. Therefore, I began to incorporate a participatory element to my work and invited the viewers to contribute to the production of specific art projects.
Today it is estimated that 3.5 billion people use smartphones and an average user spends about two hours and 30 minutes on social media every day. A technological revolution is shaping how we interact with each other in extraordinary, yet, at times, disturbing ways. It has opened up avenues for creating a different type of digital art that is highly interactive and resides within the Internet ephemeral boundaries. Net Art is now an officially recognized form of art in its own right. I believe that technological advancements are giving artists new tools to create thought provoking and meaningful art. However, I am concerned about the negative effects that the excessive use of smartphones and social media, for instance, is having on people’s minds, behaviors and society at large.
My recent work is based on early 20th century avant-garde movements, like Dadaism and Surrealism, with influences from Conceptual and Performance art. But it is also connected to unorthodox grassroots action networks like the U.S. Departments and Culture (USDAC). The materials that I use are unsophisticated and suggest the minimalistic simplicity of Arte Povera. It is deliberately low tech. My goal is to disrupt the viewer’s compulsive use of smartphones and offer a way to interact with the world without the interference of technology.