My lampshade-head series captures individuals in their personal creative spaces. Specifically they explore a thinking space where visual and auditory stimuli intermingle and even become confused. In attempting to visualize this, I ask myself questions such as: “This song needs a bassline…how do I paint a bassline within this context?” I use color, patterns and melodic line variations to emulate these musical qualities. Cloths and draperies retain their connection to traditional portraiture but also become visual manifestations of my subjects’ internal musical scores emanating out into the surroundings. The tension between depicting the physical aspects of my subjects within their environments and visualizing their creative energy is expressed through a careful balance of technical realism and loose, expressive under-painting.
It is important that each piece is, in some way, a collaboration between artists. I depict fellow art students whose creative interests and tendencies (both visual and musical) I have come to know, asking them to show me their creative places – places that straddle the physical and abstract, where these artists may work without rules. In this chaos, sound, shape and color call one another into being.
The primary visual trope of a lampshade over the head serves two functions – it denies traditional conventions of portraiture and it is a signifier of the subject’s creative space and thinking. When used on TV, lampshades worn over the head often mean that a party has gotten out of control. The lampshades are a tongue-in-cheek pop-cultural reference, considering the introspective nature of my content. At the same time, this is not a random choice; wild parties are fueled by intense sensory expression and, in a similar way, the spaces I depict are generated by that irrational creativity that causes artists to become immersed in their work, loosing track of time.
The screen prints function as sketchbooks or color studies in which I explore different color schemes and study how each results from overlapping applications of color layers. The nature of my process allows for easy recombination and tweaking. I view these too as not just visual but musical and see them as a chronology; if each print is a song segment, how does the song flow as a whole? How many different places can I direct it without changing the subject matter of the prints? In some action shots, the lampshade begins to morph into a suggestion of action lines, directing the eye through this "song." Moving forward, I'm excited to see how my recent experiences watching these screen prints develop will influence my thoughts regarding paint application.
THE STREET ART: