American painter Edward Hopper once said, “If you can say it with words, there would be no reason to paint.” I’ve always related to this quote because I’ve used my art to communicate the emotions and ideas that were inside me since the age of five.
I consider myself to be a plein air painter (“en plein air” is an old French term for “in the open air”—it’s the art of painting directly from nature). I like going to new places and documenting a moment in time that will never exactly happen again. Even if I’m not completely satisfied with my finished piece, I’m always pleased with the experience. Time spent outdoors analyzing nature is never wasted.
My work basically boils down to my own personal enjoyment in finding unconventional beauty in overlooked commonplace scenes and the thrill of creating a realistic illusion. I’m also intrigued by the emotional response that the relationship between dramatic light and shadow can evoke in the viewer—something Edward Hopper was known for in his work.
I’m currently focused on a series of 100 paintings of my hometown of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. I’m very appreciative of the effect that my location has had on my work. Nowhere am I happiest than when I paint close to home. The subjects that I choose to paint when I’m away do not resonate with me as much as the ordinary scenes here.
I started constructing this overly large cardboard chimpanzee in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the stay at home order was difficult, it was necessary, and it did present the gift of time. As a practicing artist, you quickly realize how valuable time really is. To me, it felt wrong to waste that gift. The Chimpanzee is still in search of a home as of now. Special Thanks to PTL & KDKA for their reporting.