Since childhood I have been enthralled by miniature worlds. Growing up in an artistic household, I was provided with ample materials to explore this fascination. I acquired the habit of creating small creatures and worlds for them to inhabit. When I discovered the stop motion animation magic of The Brother’s Quay and Jan Švankmajer in high school I was utterly fascinated. I think their aesthetic influence is readily apparent in my art, and the ultimate goal of creating stop motion animation puppets has guided much of my sculptural work.
This is coupled with a lifelong fascination with science and, in particular, natural history museums. The unbridled enthusiasm early scientists had for the natural world captivates me. Their feverish collecting and cataloging created tableaux that look more like art than science to our modern eyes. For me the arts and sciences are conjoined twins that modern culture has sought to separate. Perhaps they have lived freer lives as individuals, but I am driven to wonder what beauty would have been born from their forced cooperation.
For me the act of creation bears some resemblance to the early exploration of science. I happily dive in combining materials and techniques with blatant disregard for their intended purpose. I am a dabbler in many methods. When a particular piece requires that I learn a new skill to realize it, I learn that skill.
When I am creating it is important to me that the objects I make be real. While they are obviously based in fantasy they are true things, internally consistent. The characters that I create are real in much the same way that the toys in the Velveteen Rabbit become real, through the investment of belief and emotion. During the process of creation if the piece is working I have an emotional response to it even while it is partially finished. The challenge is to find and maintain that response during the whole course of creation so that when people view my work they have an empathic response to it.
I feel that my work is an optimist’s portrait of a world containing charming non sequitur, and the honesty of an incomplete innocence. The world is not a safe place, but it can still be a good place, a whole place, a true place. I hope that my work inspires stories in the minds of my audience and perhaps drives them to create their own fantastical worlds and creations.