Through portraiture and text-based textile pieces, I want to examine how a place can be reflected in an individual. How does place contribute to one’s values, politics, or beliefs? As an artist who has spent a large part of his life in different parts of Appalachia, from growing up and attending college in Pennsylvania Dutch territory, to now residing at the southern edge of the mountains of North Georgia, I want to address the ways in which depicting the people from a region speak to ideas around representation.
Operating within the conventions of a genre, whether it be portraiture, embroidery, or quilting, my bodies of work demonstrate a strong desire to create images in the presence of others. The urgency, the improvisation, and the collaborative nature of this process imbues a level of awareness that feels distinctive to being present. It celebrates our existence in some way, where one begins to treat everything with an infinite respect; where one is engaged and present with the tasks at hand, or the people they’re with, where every moment, every day, has the distinct possibility of a kind of epiphany. Over time, one notices that picturing the beauty around us causes almost anything seen to open as an occasion for wonder and surprise, celebrating the idea that art making is an attitude of discovery as much as it is an action.