Prickles and Goo

I created this series in 2014 and developed a process that has informed and evolved into what I’m currently working on today. I discovered Google Earth and wanted to create paintings that mimicked the terrain’s shapes and textures, but also used them as a language to compose new scapes. I made dozens of compositions in what ended up being an 8 piece series I called “Prickles and Goo”. I embarked on this journey with my good friend and fellow artist Connor McManus who also created paintings based on similar criteria. Here’s a look into my process:

I started by scanning aerial imagery for interesting shapes and dissecting, layering and manipulating them in Photoshop until a harmonious composition emerged. The process began with a reductive approach to layering with color and shape, but naturally evolved towards more textural, kaleidoscopic compositions. Here are a few examples of my early unused compositions:

Many factors play into creating a harmonious composition. Here is a look at a composition in different states over time. Not only do the shapes change, but many different color pallets are considered.

Amidst this exploration I wanted to understand how these extracted shapes can move and work together. So I reduced and layered the shapes into black and white compositions which I like to call hieroglyphs. Although I didn’t render these into painted pieces, they were essential in understanding the positive/negative interchange of space and creating a language in my pieces.

Once I could understand this language I started to add texture back into the compositions. By adding texture along with my mark making on the canvas I could breathe life into the compositions. Here are some more unused compositions created later on in the process:

I have learned a lot in this process and it has given me a structured, almost scientific approach to art-making. By making dozens of compositions, reworking and refining them over time I was able to understand the unity of forms found amongst the Earth's surface. 

Here are my painted pieces thus far in the series:

I have currently moved on to different inspirations, but this series is still open to rediscovery.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces, visit my Where Y'art