Capturing the Soul: Exploring the Depths of Southern Life through Artistic Narratives
As a young boy, sketching the faces of fellow church goers on a sheet of white paper kept me occupied during more than a couple methodist sermons. The faces and personalities of nearby strangers have always presented me with a rich and deeply nuanced subject matter. There is a great, imperceptible void between all people, whether a factor of time, place, or individual circumstance, that challenges us to understand the many peripheral worlds surrounding our own.
I fill a canvas with an individual story. In telling the stories of the contemporary south, mainly through encounters with its African American faces and personalities, I divulge my own curiosity. For me, each painting is a journey into the space of individual wit and wisdom; hardships, joys, and vivacity are captured in a single moment. I incorporate west African symbolism reimagined within a southern landscape defined by its color, by bright patterns and many different shades of skin.
My portraits are driven by the beauty of ordinary life. A bus stop in Charlottesville, a street corner in Lynchburg, and dozens of other small and unforeseen places have all served as inspiration for some of my most rewarding rhythms and energies that define southern life.
After applying acrylic paint, patterned with layers of tape to establish a background and prepare the canvas, the figures themselves are brought to life with oil paint. My study of the human condition has brought me farther and farther away from my own roots. Now I find myself pursuing smaller patterns and incorporating different faces from backgrounds that break with my own. I find myself again returning to darker skin tones and bright, jubilant, but fully authentic characters.