Just Being Honest

a dialogue on life and imperfection

So, we are one week away from the pop-up art show displaying both new and older works that need to be shared. It showcases about 10 large paintings on canvas and paper, and a number of small studies, all accompanied by words written by Sarah, my wife.

I wanted to just sit down and reflect on the momentum and meaning of this show for me and Sarah. I reflect best when I ask myself questions.

What led us here?

After 5 years of teaching middle school art I have made the switch to being a full-time artist. To fully immerse oneself into the the world of making art for a living, one must have a goal to work toward. A deadline. So we made one. With every deadline comes self-assessment. An assessment of “why I want to make art.” And my answer directly influenced what this show would be: I want to use my talents, preferences, experiences, approach, and passion to affect another individual in the way they see this world. Maybe what I do will initiate a conversation personally or socially. And maybe, that individual might be a little better off in how they go on. That is my goal.

I attribute the last 6 years to giving me the inspiration for this show. I’ve had shows and created work within these years, but this show will reflect on the overarching themes spanning from a time of being almost homeless, alone, and looking for a job to the present, coming off a teaching job of 5 years and being newly married. A spectrum of hurdles. I remember my days in college when I searched high and low for messages I could apply to my painting. Now, after refinement, I have content to communicate. My process has flip-flopped and that’s okay with me. It’s natural this way. Themes have surfaced over the years and I am nothing but thankful for the growth within myself to recognize them. Certain experiences and emotions have become worthy. And nothing keeps me from alluding to them in the studio.

What inspired this show/these themes?

I am very much a human first and an artist second. And that’s an order refined since college. I love what the artistic process does for me and my spirit, but ultimately, the ideas in which I use my art to express have taken priority over just the application of paint. Finishing out my latter twenties in St. Augustine supplied the themes for this particular show: deprivation, choices, vulnerability, God, opportunity, self-reflection, creation, resistance, and prayer. And mirroring and confirming these issues with my wife Sarah has only exploded the impact they’ve had on me/us.

Why these themes? I want to speak to very applicable matters. I’d like to think that we can speak to some root issues. Issues of the imperfect human being in this present day. Or any day, for that matter. Really, the themes are timeless. But they are personal, and oftentimes root issues to the bigger more often-heard humane mishaps in the world. Sarah and I have experienced many of these issues both before and during our marriage. We find them worthy. Worthy of praise, or simply noting. Because we don’t think we’re the only ones facing these pressures and realizations in this world/St. Augustine. And so, the one truest thing we hope to put on the wall is honesty. Communicated through our own respective expressions. A dialogue of sorts.

What will make this show a success?

Ultimately, I would love for it to be a time of reflection within the viewer. And I hope that Sarah and I are singing notes that resonate with the individuals who see our work. Combining my paintings with her words is a new thing for us. I love the way I ruminate and talk about a work of art. But I also know that the way I look at art doesn’t accurately reflect how all people look at art. And that’s where I’m excited about the inclusion of these words. Not everyone is reached the same way. Maybe it’s one or the other, or the marriage of the two. I don’t ever want my art to be intimidating, and having another route of understanding can only pull the viewer in closer.

Also, I like it when people want a meaningful work of art in their home space. They want it as a reminder. Or a conversation starter. And, because my own minimal budget doesn’t allow me to buy much these days, I understand the limits of acquiring art. At this show, we are presenting works at varying costs, so if a piece strikes someone, they might have the opportunity to make it their own in a way not always offered at art exhibits.

This show embodies all that we are working toward as creative individuals. It is what we believe we were meant to do right now, and it is something that is made for all to see. If you're in or near St. Augustine, we hope you'll join us Friday, September 30th.