• Video collage - Jan 2022

    Video collage - Jan 2022

    I’m preparing to look for schools in France to get a Masters, and I thought I need to write to flesh out bigger movements in my work. Right now, I’d say I have a couple: assemblages and videos.

    My video-making is a result of my life-long love of movies. I never really thought of making them though. In college, I was being introduced to art history. And in NY, I was just getting started with art making. I always watched and appreciated movies but I didn't see them as part of my practice. I did experiment briefly in college. I’d made an abstract wax sculpture which had fish-hooks set inside. I melted the sculpture with a heat gun and filmed it and paired the footage with a monologue from Mad Men about the inexistence of love. Still kind of recognizable!

    Most of my time in New York, I was concentrated on painting and other forms that seemed distant from video making. I took a few "selfie" videos, and there was a drone video I made one night in Bushwick - flying up to see the NYC skyline - but that was pretty much it.

    However, in France this idea of making a video using nature documentary clips and pairing it with Boards of Canada crept in and sort of hovered around for several months. Then there was a collaborative project opportunity and video seemed like a good format. It wasn’t easy to make that idea interesting in reality, but there were a lot of seeds planted. And about a year later, I had another stretch of time to dive back in, and I created three short pieces that I felt were going somewhere.

    The process feels a lot like my assemblage work, in that I’m collecting found materials and, in being stored up together, they attach to each other. For example, with “purple car crash”, I was deconstructing Jurassic Park (isolating clips, sounds, etc. that I liked) and some of that attached to this video game clip, which happened to create a car crash story. And with that idea being created more and more material got sucked in.

    Duration-wise, I was inspired by Adult Swim, which I watched a lot in high school. I made the pieces short like the Adult Swim bumpers, which slipped between the shows and commercials. I felt this shortening made them more poetic than cinematic, although I really wanted the power of cinema to be a tool, which is why I deconstruct movies and also why I fantasize about showing them in theaters with the previews.

    The third video I made used my assemblage Gravity as a virtual frame and this made me think about the videos not only as media for existing structures like cinemas or phones, but as something I could use sculpturally or painter-ively - basically creating a “device” to show the videos. This felt appropriate in my journey to connect painting to more active and democratic forms, like gaming.

    Now that I have a j.o.b. again, I think this video phase is turning a bit. Although certainly I have a lot of desire to keep working on the videos. In fact, I have a couple longer works primed called “alienz” and “fairy talez” (working titles) which I think of as collections of short pieces corresponding to their titles. But video-making takes a lot of time, and I still want to make assemblages/paintings, so I’m trying to see it all from a larger perspective - especially in terms of going back to school bc that would be an opportunity to dive back in again, but I’d want to be pretty focused in my techniques.

    Until next time,

  • Music - Jan 2021

    Music - Jan 2021

    I’m writing about music this month. I was going to write about the Expanded Field, but I’ve been having so much fun listening to and making Spotify playlists lately that I decided to change topics. However, in order to talk about those playlists in a future post, I need to contextualize.

    Furthermore, music is an important part of how I spend my time, and there are elements of my art practice that have shot off from it.

    When I was little I don’t remember caring much about music or sounds. I was really into movies, and I think I needed visual anchors. I remember my brother playing Jock Jams out of the car speakers while working around the garage in the summer, and I thought, “What’s up with music? I don’t get it.”

    At some point growing up, music became a thing with my friends. My brother was really influential, because he was tapped into weird techno from the UK like Aphex Twin and Orbital. I thought it was much cooler than what my friends were into, but I also realized they weren’t interested. It was too advanced for them I thought, because it was coming from someone 8 years older, and I ended up keeping it mostly to myself.

    In high school, music was even more important. Smoking weed with a friend, a rap song became incredibly physical and encompassing (and frightening). Along with listening with Mischa, this was one of the most powerful musical experiences I’d had. What’s more, the music seemed to be amplified by my friend. His image and actions locking into into the song’s environment, which was both there and not there. I wanted his ability, and I tried to study by listening a bunch, hoping the songs would be absorbed and transform me.

    The materiality of music was changing a lot during this time. I remember downloading music through Limewire and dropping all these mp3s into iTunes. At the end of high school/beginning of college, I had compiled around 10,000 songs.

    In college, I discovered Pitchfork and found a place where my nerdiness could expand even more. The website seemed to know for sure what was the best music ever made. The opportunity to discover so much music and access it almost immediately was like a utopia born unto reality. This was perhaps a third major event. I don’t know if I spent more time listening to music than before, but my explorations disconnected somewhat from the music of my past, mirroring the “Best Of…” lists on the website. This coincided with the return of my artistic identity, which was blooming again in university art classes. I remember listening to OK Computer for the first time, after having seen it was the best album of the 90s, and working on a painting after hours in one of my university’s spacious studios, earbuds in. I was perfectly happy. Pitchfork helped propel me through the next 10 years, as well as up to the present, albeit less intensely than before.

    After college, I moved to New York, and a fourth event took root. I was still trying to adopt my friend’s role as music influencer. I kept expecting to meet someone who would be dazzled by me, but it didn’t happen to my knowledge. Seemingly everyone had defined their styles, and I suppose I wasn’t captivating enough to change their minds. However, I realized I had enough musical knowledge to bridge to their tastes, wherein they could be dazzled by the music itself. It was simply a new shade of what they already liked. And their presence transformed the song for me, drawing out new aspects of the compositions. It was exciting. I had more control, and it turned me onto this idea that individuals could shape my artistic experience. Something I’ve used a lot.

    Anyways, that’s all I’ll say for now. This is just an overview of the major moments in my life as a music enthusiast. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do more and shorter posts that go into music again. But I think the next one will be on a different subject.


  • Video Games - Dec 2020

    Video Games - Dec 2020

    This seems like a good time to discuss this subject, because growing up a lot of my favorite video games would come to me for Christmas (Thank you to everyone who did that), as I’m sure many from my generation can relate.

    This is a pretty big topic to undertake because video games are way more important to way more people than contemporary art, and I’ve been mostly out of the video game world for a while, having sort of decided to give them up in high school. But video games are important and like movies, an artform unto themselves. And contemporary art is becoming more and more aware of this.

    One of my favorite works, Super Mario Clouds by Cory Arcangel is emblematic of video games’ influence, as well as how good the relationship can be between them and the artworld. Link

    In my practice, I’m pretty new to video games as a reference. I’ve included an image of Final Fantasy X because it was one of my favorites growing up, and a couple of years ago, I watched through the whole game on YouTube, which was the first time I’d done that. I wanted to transfer some of its power to my own work.. Of course, a lot is taken away when the viewer isn’t also controlling the game, but I still felt there was a lot there. First of all, it was long - like 11 hours, and it was trimmed down a lot. When you play, there’s a lot of added time trying to figure out what to do, running into enemies haphazardly, etc. The story was not really well told I thought. When I actually played it, I think it had a bigger emotional impact because of my age and just how much more effort I was investing into it. What’s important to remember is how exciting it is to control the actions of characters in an advanced technological environment like that. It’s a part of the experience that is essentiel. Link

    After watching the gameplay, I created a list of artwork titles based from the game, as well as drawings and other conceptual notes. The whole thing was exploratory. I didn’t know how it would shape up, and it’s been sitting in my studio and mind since. I’m still pondering it, and I’m still crafting my practice to respond to it. I think if you look at my work in the "France" art gallery, you can see some video game influence. What I can say for sure is that I’m inspired by video games’ presence in our world, and I’m excited to have them in mind going forward. Thanks for reading. Until next time!

  • Domotique - Oct 2020

    Domotique - Oct 2020

    Hi! Haven't had as much time as I'd like to make art. The professional training takes up a lot of time and is really intense. I'm the only non-native French speaker, and I remind myself of foreign kids in college who never spoke. I guess I'm learning some empathy.

    KNX is an association that specializes in home automation, and they are pretty interesting. They have a software program called ETS that allows people to organize KNX-certified devices and it all kind of reminds me of playing Sim City 2000. I'm reading a book by my college professor (very slowly reading) that discusses responsive architecture and human-environment theory. It’s called The Responsive Environment by Larry Busbea. I’m also reminded of Jack Burnham (a college discovery) who said artists should disperse into the world as systems specialists, because their approach would make our systems (social, etc) more beautiful, functional and empathetic. Although I can't always imagine being an electrician or home automation technicien, I am finding aspects to be interesting.

    I’m also taking more time to look at different artists during breaks on my iPhone. It seems good to be deepening my knowledge of art, even as I am not working too much directly on my own work. Some cool ones I’ve been considering/reconsidering are Keith Herring, Huma Bhabha (whoa), Tyler Mitchell, Hokusai, Helen Frankenthaler, and Millet.

  • Artist Talk - July 2020

    Artist Talk - July 2020

    I did my first artist talk! Along with my collaborators Nina Burke and Stacey Evans, as well as the director and curator for Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville Kristen Chiacchia.

    It was a great experience, not much pressure, and I'm impressed with how Second Street handled it - thanks to them! It makes me feel good for those of us who are outside the art hubs like NYC. I believe great things can and will happen more and more from places like Charlottesville and Besançon bc of being connected online. Thanks to everyone involved and those who checked out the project.

    Link to talk is here: https://vimeo.com/432984233

  • The Ones We Can Still Save - May 2020

    The Ones We Can Still Save - May 2020

    This Friday May 1st, my collaborative project with Nina Burke was posted to thisfamiliarspace.com with the help of Stacey Evans and Second Street Gallery. It was a great experience. Nina was really cool to work with throughout, and I think with her input on the video and her organic, magical and frightening sculpture, we created something whole.

    In addition to the themes discussed on the project's website, I feel great that I got a chance to bring in nature documentary footage to the creative process. It was trickier than I imagined initially, and I think I could progress a lot in the future, but having the chance to meld many disparate ideas together was special and something that video seems to afford really nicely.

  • Automated Coronavirus - April 2020

    Automated Coronavirus - April 2020

    Whoa, what a crazy time! Obviously, the craziest is the new virus. Here in France, we have been in confinement since March 17. We are allowed outside for only 1 hour and must stay within 1km of our homes.

    Since my last post, I got into a technical training course much sooner than expected, so I'm done with the DAQ. It trains participants in electricity and home automation and lasts for a year. I expect it to be fairly intense with the French, which I'm probably not quite at the correct level for still. For now, we're doing e-learning because of the confinement.

    I am also in the process of a collaboration with an artist in Charlottesville, VA named Nina Frances Burke. It is part of an exhibit being created by a photographer named Stacey Evans, who visited Besançon a couple of years ago with the mayor of Charlottesville (Besançon and Charlottesville are sister cities). Cécile was translating for the Americans, which is how I got in contact with Stacey.

    In part, we're creating a video piece. I'm super excited, because I've been wanting to experiment with editing clips from nature documentaries. This collaboration is creating that opportunity. The piece will also be political as Nina was moved by an insulin pen I sent her, making a comment about the relative ease in getting the medication in France.

    So things are good, but I guess no one really knows how this pandemic will effect our lives. And obviously, there are a lot of people who are struggling.

    P.S. Here's a video link for the formation I'm doing, but it's in French!


  • Restart - Jan 2020

    Restart - Jan 2020

    Well, I haven't made an entry in a long time!

    This transitory period I mentioned before makes it difficult to journal, I guess (I was never good at journaling).

    I've been thinking of studying electricity, in order to help support a family and still make art too. I'm a little scared of this new direction but doing good so far. I started a 6 month-long program called the DAQ (the picture is from the parking lot), which will help me learn more French and apply to internships. After, I would be able to apply to a technical formation, which would certify me to get a job.

    In art, I've been fairly stuck, mostly trying to calibrate my practice with reality. For a while, I'd been working to recapture the success of my assemblage "Gravity," and I think that was good. However, there's less and less space to create in this small room, and I'm wondering how to best move forward.

    Regardless, I'm enjoying the challenge,

  • Visit USA - August 2019

    Visit USA - August 2019

    Just returned this week to France. My wife Cécile and I traveled to New York, Houston, New Mexico, and Illinois for about a month seeing friends and family, and it was great! Every place has its own character and fun things to see and do.

    My wife is looking for phD programs, so we're not sure we'll be staying in Besançon. I like Besançon but moving to a bigger city in France would be interesting too. Plans are kind of up-in-the-air. I also feel like I'm in a transitory period, and I'm not sure what's going on. I guess I need to put myself out there more, in addition to being in my bubble making art.

    It's slightly painful when reality stares you in the eye and becomes more and more defined. However, it's lovely that life has forces larger than the self, if you can accept it! ...

  • Returned - July 2019

    Returned - July 2019

    I got back this week from the monastery at Ronchamp. It was a strange experience. I didn't know what to do a lot of the time, but I built up little routines pretty fast. The architecture was cool. Staying in the Renzo Piano monastery was pretty fancy (from an architectural perspective). Getting to be alone with the chapel in the evenings was quite an encounter. It helped I was re-reading Sphere by Michael Crichton, which is about encountering an alien object.

    What surprised me was how painful it could be just to sit around with nothing much to do. Eventually, good feelings and thoughts would get through, but it took a lot of patience, especially in the beginning (Buddhism was certainly in my mind, a lot).

    It also put my quotidien life into relief in an interesting way, once I got back. Like that trick where someone holds your arms down while you try to lift them for a full minute, and when they let go, your arms feel like they're floating.

  • Séjour at Ronchamp - July 2, 2019

    Séjour at Ronchamp - July 2, 2019

    In July, I will be doing a week-long "séjour" at the monastery in Ronchamp, which is built into the grounds of a famous chapel built by Le Corbusier, a legendary French architect who helped to develop the "international style" in the middle of the 20th century.

    I wanted to do something artistic between the time my work contract ended and my wife's and my vacation in the USA in August. I learned about this church and its architect in class at university many years ago. It was during this class and a couple others that I became quite resolute about being an artist. I have a good feeling about the stay.

    (I'll also be forgoing phone and computer usage during my time there.)

    Correction: I did not forgo my iPhone.

  • Starting out.. July 2, 2019

    Starting out..  July 2, 2019


    This is my first post for this blog. I'm sure I should have started it many years earlier. It will be dedicated to my artistic practice, differentiating it somewhat from my Instagram account.

    At the moment, I am in France where I live. My wife just finished her second masters, in sociology. We moved here from New York City in 2017. It's been two years and I've been making art, learning French, and I held down a job in an insertion program for immigrants (for 8 months, at least).

    I'm hoping to continue progressing as an artist, even though I've had to restart in some ways by moving. So far, I've had success in creating assemblages. I also made a little photo series called Anyone’s Ghost, last year for a photo class, which turned out well. My near-future goals are to continue to push getting out there, both for my artwork and for the language. I’m imagining applying to residencies and grants, as well as looking for exhibition opportunities and perhaps reaching out to galleries.

    To no one but me, I think,