If Chagall and William Blake had a baby, I’d want to be that baby. Or at least I’d want to build a time machine with her. I’m a Romantic, and believe paintings are machines of love and affect. These particular machines attempt to expresso the depresso, not out of a solipsistic impulse towards self-care, but out of a need to find utopic compadres. Here’s a question: can sadness become so textural that it breaks, and then becomes euphoric action? (Memento mori redux).
The figures in my paintings are Shrinebeasts, an aspirational and speculative evolutionary condition of humans based on love and kinship. They share a physical body with everyone they’ve ever fucked and been fucked by and loved. Love is a real furshlugginer. It’s like the gag where two people try to be inside of the same sweatshirt together. Shrinebeasts are the manifested absurd and beautiful co-dependent uncertainty of the bodies and identities of lovers-complete with all of their inconveniences (hence the meteors). They are borderless and ridiculous and their empathy is a practical concern born out of necessity rather than choice- the community has to figure out how to move its legs all at the same time.
The new being is neither myself or a fiction, but instead the apotheosis of Worry. Can it worry enough for everyone? Can it go full Super Saiyan in its concern and form a spirit bomb out of collective worry to throw at…..something? Ennui?
The Worry forms weakness like a super power, as a gesture towards rhizomatic entanglement or, to put it a different way, all my losses are lessons. The Worried Shrinebeast is looking for non-human kin to learn from and partner with. Because how do you define the edges of what is interstitial?
Blake had trouble telling the difference between himself and a lamb.
As to the guns, the Shrinebeasts carry them because I’m an American painter and I’m obligated to paint America. The loaded gun is the fetish object of America, and I feel it is a language and material for which I must find poetic use. I want to paint them like they are super glued to the Shrinebeasts’ hands; shoehorned, because I’d much rather be painting something different.
Shrinebeasts are made dumb by love and they worry, they are paranoid and aspirational. They vomit pearls and grow flowers in weird places while wandering through a morass of eternal embarrassment, infinite bathos, all while getting dunked on by ironic nihilists.
These paintings are a non-playable video game, a game I never intend on actually making. They are paintings as a kind of image still for a non-existent experience, a game of my own experiences and life as a playable mythology. Specifically, they are processing the fire that burned down my studio and ten years worth of work, introducing the Shrinebeasts into an iridescent limbo, one of euphoric worry and the smell of smoke.