Thank you to those who attended– I hope that you enjoyed the company, the art, and all of the wine. Life in New York City gets hectic, so it was great to catch up with the people I hadn’t seen in months and so nice to meet those of you whom I hadn’t met previously.
Developing this piece — called Nostalgia — required using new methods: experimenting with electricity and structural engineering. I reached out to Chris Darsow, the owner of Art Force, to help me in these areas.
The inspiration for Nostalgia came as a byproduct of working with Raydoor’s founder, Luke Seigal, who’d invited me to participate in his gallery show, named Division. The show was unique in that he provided his custom, translucent doors as a surface for each artist’s vision.
Each door contained acrylic panels which, when painted upon, produced the effect of stained glass. I decided to recreate this effect using a light source encased within the structure of my towers.
My plan was to bring my traditionally two-dimensional Rorschach paintings into the third dimension and create a fully-immersive experience. I began by painting ten acrylic panels. When layered, these panels created a parallaxing visual effect which gave them an illusion of depth. Then I reconstructed LED light bulbs to amplify the flow of light through the towers.
After three months of experimentation and construction, I managed to complete the first of my two towers. The next tower took me just two weeks to bring from my mind into the tangible world.
When finished, the towers stood eight feet tall.
During Art Basel, my work was placed next to the entrance to Nobu in Miami’s Eden Roc hotel. Seeing my art activate the space of a world-renowned brand filled me with pride, as did the many little pings and vibrations of my phone notifications. People from all walks of life had been sharing selfies and videos of themselves with the piece.
The public’s reaction made me realize how incredible it would be to showcase my work across a vast scale. I envisioned building thirty-four new light towers, one for each Nobu in the U.S.
It's stunning to me how a small project like the Division show can lead to other, larger projects. In the span of just three months, painting on a sliding door led me to create an eight-foot tall light installation for the world’s most recognized Japanese restaurant.
Unexpected partnerships often lead to my best work. There’s a certain freedom in moving from one creative project to the next, never knowing exactly what is around the corner.
P.S.– the creation of these light towers would not have been possible without the assistance of Faulkner Plastic, who went above and beyond by providing all of the materials, storage, and more for this project.
I recently took the L train into Manhattan to meet some friends for dinner.
If you’ve ever taken the L–– first of all, I’m sorry. Riding the L line is a case study on the human condition within New York.
When the train pulled into the Montrose Street station, an older gentleman wearing a fedora boarded my car. Normally I wouldn’t have thought twice about him. But moments after the train pulled out of the station he began to loudly yell into a slice of mango, which he held to his ear as if it were a cell phone.
I’ve lived in New York for a lot of my life, and I don’t typically react to its inhabitants’ peculiarities. But something about the intensity with which he fought the slice of mango made me pull out my notebook and inscribe the word: “mangophone”.
A woman who was seated next to me saw what I had written and laughed. Then she pointed to a rough drawing I’d sketched out in the margins and asked if I was an artist. I told her that I was.
“Lucky you,” she said. “I’m a lawyer. My notebooks are full of doodles too, but they don’t look like yours.”
When she got off the train at Union Square, I was still thinking about what she’d said to me. The idea that someone in a career so far removed from my own could practice the same method of reflection as I do was interesting.
Notebooks are full of secrets, and hopes, and plans. They’re a place for private reflection, for rants and raves. They’re for making lists and making art and everything in between.
By the time I got off of the L, I’d already written down my launch strategy and begun to sketch my design.
My notebook is an almanac to creation: an eccentric log of thoughts and feelings which I use to form concepts for my art when I’m back in the studio. It’s a tool I use when I paint, as much a part of the process as the canvas or my brushes.
When the lawyer from the L train clued me in to the importance of her own notebook, I knew that I wanted to share this part of my artistic process with the world.
And what better way to do so than by releasing a Makewell Art notebook?
When it comes to these Makewell Art notebooks, you can judge a book by its cover. I hope that these Makewell Art notebooks bring you as much clarity and creativity as my sketchbooks have always brought me.
She was poignant. And hideous.
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