Charlottesville Portrait Project with Ahmir (photo by JP Critzer) 

Artist Statement

Whether through meticulous wood engraving, quick sketches of strangers, or meditations on the figure through life drawing, I am interested in how different mediums and social situations affect both the tangible results of art-making and the emotional bonds that result from the vulnerability of creation.

As a way to expand this network of human connection, a current project of mine is to approach people around Charlottesville, interview them for ten minutes, and draw their portrait for another ten. Both the subject and I are rendered vulnerable; they entrust me with pieces of their life story and take the risk of looking at their own likeness, while I must live up to my assertion that I am an “artist” and produce a portrait with some degree of likeness. The creation of a previously non-existent human bond was the initially unintentional, yet most beautiful, art product.

Wood engraving, by contrast, is a highly introverted exercise. It is solitary, meditative, absorbing, even addictive. I am inspired by the sacred and the profane, and I lean towards depicting iconic women, several of them in recline: Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus, Ophelia, and a woman at the center of Henri Rousseau’s The Dream. So far, these subjects are inspired by my own experience as a reclining nude (via art modeling), but I hope to continue to expand my engraving to include my focus on connection through art.