How did you develop your voice and style?
To stand out in the industry you need to find your own independent voice, your own perspective and your own vision of the world. Maybe that will take a lot of self-exploration but that will lead you down some really cool paths. I think ultimately it will be a lot more fulfilling if you’re doing something your way versus following the path more often travelled.
When I say that, I’m definitely coming from a very lucky position where I did that and it worked out. But I think the juice is worth the squeeze. You should give it a shot and try to do what works for you and don’t get too caught up in what other people say.
I’ve always loved the outdoors. Now I feel like there’s so much outdoor-themed art but back in 2003 there was a huge lack of it. For a long time it was just very hippie outdoor artwork that didn’t appeal to me or my friends so I started making stuff that I liked, that my friends liked and eventually found a style.
I’ve gone through a lot of crappy phases, but I just kept doing it and just like anything if you work long enough, you work hard enough, eventually you’ll find a style and other people slowly like it as well. It took a while. It wasn’t like, Look how awesome this is! And a year later everybody thinks, This is great!
I remember taking stuff back to a gallery in Philly that showed a lot of artists I really liked and the woman said, I like it, but I would never show it in my gallery.
Looking back, it was bad. [Laughs] She could see maybe there was something there, down the road. But I thought, She said she liked it, that’s all that really matters. It took a long time but I just kept doing it and then eventually found my style.
In 2009 I was creating a piece I think for a fundraiser and that’s one of the first times I did the collage style. I wanted to add some color but didn’t really want to print different colored blocks. So all of a sudden I was like, Well I’ll just collage some paper together. And as soon as I did it I thought, Oh my god, I think that’s it! It was just one of those full-on wow moments where I felt, I’ve got to do this more. And so I did it for another piece, then another piece and that’s how I finally found a good look for my work.