"An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc."-Henri Matisse
In reference to the Large Paintings the sources of inspiration for my artistic ideas primarily come from my interests. I am fascinated by history, American history in particular and all that it entails. Included in that history is the African American experience, the creation of popular music, "sequential art"(comic book art), as well as environmental exploitation. Collage allows me to distill my various ideas and interests into a single painting. Through this approach to making art I am able to use an assortment of media and techniques simultaneously if desired for a particular piece. I see my work as a catalyst to stimulate thought and promote discussion about various issues prevalent in society. Through the use of visual and material collage, I communicate my views on endangered species, politics, race, and the environment. I cull images from disparate sources to create a visual statement. By combining dissimilar pictures, I allow those images to infuse the paintings with many layers of meaning and association.
*With the GOLD Portrait Paintings a few interests are coming together in their creation. First of all, since 2007 I have been working on a series of historical portraits at the Walter Palmer Leadership and Learning Partners Charter School in Philadelphia. I've painted over 400 4'X3' portraits on this project. Secondly, on a trip to Italy in 2001 I visited the Uffizi Gallery and saw their collection of Pre-Renaissance religious paintings with gold leaf background which left an indelible mark on me. Seeing these works, by Giotto, Cimabue and others in person, revealed the texture and aggressive surface of the gold leaf areas of the paintings. The use of gold also is intriguing to me in the way that it contrasts with the painted figures. The gold acts as a dark which contrasts with the light areas and it also reflects light at the same time. Thirdly, my interest in drawing and painting the figure is something that has been with me since my earliest attempts at drawing as a child on the streets of Philadelphia. These interests and influences merge in the creation of these portraits