I recently began work on a new series titled "Tension". In this series of work I created 4 large scale pieces ranging from 5 feet to 8 feet in scale.
We recently started working on my film "A Canvas of Sound" after a year hiatus and have been interviewing musical artist's about tension in their work or craft, where it exists, when does it exist and how they combat or work through it. I decided I would create a body of paintings that deal with the tension that I feel when creating.
The first piece of this series was titled "Tension Here" and was created out of the emotion between my art and myself, how that tension exists in a small space between my heart/soul and a piece of material that I struggle to give life to.
The second piece of the series is titled "/tenSHen/" which represents a "pulling tightly", the tension that I often feel inside myself as a creator. Always wanting to create, every waking moment, it builds and builds and pulls my mind away at times, and stretches my soul in a moments breath. The only escape or release from that tension is to paint.
The 3rd piece in the series is titled "Breathing Through", it was based on a short poem that I wrote while thinking through this body of work. " Breathing through dusty lungs to (2) create here admits this tension." This piece holds heavy truths for me. I have journey'd all over the world in my 40 years of existance and I have experienced heavy truths that exist in our world. With my own eyes I have experienced genocide, rape, hunger, poverty, child soldiers, communism, fear, hatred and many other atrocities that have shaped my soul. There is a tension as an artist to be able to shed light on the truths that exist in this world, that many people do not get to observe, discuss or feel. My lungs have collected dust from all over the world, and so I breath through those lungs as I create.
The last piece in this series is titled "Tumbleweeds", it is also named after specific prose that I wrote on my studio wall prior to this series beginning, "My tension exists here amongst the tumbleweeds and distant memories, so I live on."
The depth of this piece is wrapped up in a literal tumbleweed. Tumbleweed: any of various plants, as Amaranthus albus, A.graecizans, or the Russian thistle, Salsola kali,whose branching upper parts become detachedfrom the roots and are driven about by the wind. As the tumbleweed gets blown across distance with the wind it gathers up other plants as well and scatters their seeds on its journey. There is much correlation to my life experiences wrapped up in this definition.
Here is a short video of me creating "Breathing Through" in my Austin Studio.
I truly feel that the Tension series has opened up new direction and confidence for me as a painter as my work evolves. I am currently working on ideas, sketches and studies for a new series titled "Healing Wounds". I have experienced many wounds in my life, seen others experience heavy wounding and I feel as if our society is struggling with decades of deep wounds that continue to plague our unity as a melting pot of other cultures and people groups. I am excited to start painting this week!