I have spent the past decade traveling throughout the country visiting museums, large cities, small towns, national parks, civil war battlefields, assassination sites, graveyards, and national monuments. I am a lifelong student of the vast profundity of American music as well as a glutton for American history, literature, western painting, film, comic strips, and cartoons; all of which have consumed my nights and days. All of these interests and practices have influenced and inspired me to make American images and tell American stories. From Woody Guthrie to Woody Allen straight through to Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan I’m fascinated by the American story and I’m committed to joining the conversation of American artists and raconteurs.
Greil Marcus, the American author, music journalist and cultural critic writes, “There is no theme richer for the American artist than the spirit and the themes of the country and the country's history. We have never figured out what this place is about or what it is for, and the only way to even begin to answer those questions is to watch our movies, read our poets, our novelists, and listen to our music... America is the life's work of American artists because they are doomed to be American.”
My bespectacled, bearded, and slightly balding protagonist fills his heart with the vision of Walt Whitman’s America only to get sucker punched by Philip Roth’s and Peter Saul’s America. But he continues with deepening resolve on his journey in hopes of figuring out the question of what it means to be American.
This series of drawings titled Black finds my protagonists in destitute environments, “Where black is the color, and none is the number” (Dylan). The pressure to survive, to provide, to perform, to succeed, and to protect is closing in on them. The businessman, the proletariat, the artist, losers and winners, insomniacs and maniacs, pacifists and militants are all fitted, manipulated, and forced into conformation.
It’s black in there, time is running out, and it’s too hard to sleep.