Can you describe your process? I’m fascinated by the layers and patterns. Do you paint these, or reproduce them from elsewhere? How do you use rice paper in your work?
My process is to formulate the main shapes on the canvas, and then to proceed with the people, colors and patterns to obtain a whole. I have many reference books on patterns from many different cultures. I may replicate them as they are, or adjust them to fit my picture. I'm sure I worked on a mosque or temple in a past life... it is very soothing to see the picture come together. I sometimes use rice paper with varnish and paint on top as antiquing device, to bring the image closer to the past. I love painting geometric images as well, but it's more like fighting the computer now-a-days.
With Asian erotic miniatures you rarely feel any judgment, just a sly enjoyment of a natural act, with the women as engaged in the process as the men. I see this in your work as well. How do you think our attitudes towards erotica have changed? Do you feel that the Internet has had any influence on our ideas of erotic art?
The rice paper has another purpose. Erotica from further back in time seems to offend very few in the present, as if it's time distance from the viewer prevents embarrassment or judgmental attitudes. That and the small size of a lot of my canvasses prevent the image from being overwhelming. A lot of my larger pieces are not so overt. I am not in favor of the Internet for the most part. There is too much available. Erotica is all part of humanity, but pre-internet it would be viewed in small portions and was much more special. Now (especially younger people) no longer need a special image on their wall, or even any hard copy; as long as they can see it on a screen, that's all that is required. Very damaging.
What do bubbles and spheres represent in your art?
The bubbles and spheres represent unspoken communications and physical contacts that all experience but I cannot put into words. They reflect my inability but strong wish to connect with others. Plus, I just love transparencies and color changes.
You say that none of the subjects are specific people you know, yet they are far from generic—they have a great deal of personality. I feel as though we’re glimpsing them in a moment from part of an ongoing narrative. Do they become characters in larger stories to you?
I'm sure nothing is original, even if it cannot be attributed to a specific individual. I have painted men I have known, but if the image is too overt, I feel like I have to respect them in some manner and not put it on the Internet. I came of age during disco, the pill, and pre-aids; need I say more? One thing is for sure, even pre-device, it's risky to fall asleep around an artist!
Given the nature of your work it necessarily involves naked bodies. How much do you think about body image…about ideals of beauty or sexiness relating to voluptuousness or skinniness or hairlessness, etc.?
I think it's promotion and validation of myself; and struggles all humans go through in self image.
Everyone gets a question from the Proust Questionnaire, and here’s yours: What is your favorite virtue?
My favorite virtues are kindness and respect.