My drawings, prints, and installations create a narrative pictorial space for various cultural artifacts to inhabit: 18th century portrait busts, African ceremonial fetishes, ancient Roman household objects. I begin my art process by photographing and drawing objects from life where I initially encounter them, often in museums or at historical monuments. My first sketches are volumetric renderings in which I study the physical form of the object; how it is made and how it fills space. These preliminary sketches make up a personal archive that serves as both a documentation of my travels and discoveries and an active image bank. I use the sketches in this image bank as source material for creating larger print and drawing compositions.

The figure enters my work through the statues and portrait busts I sketch and collect in my image archive. In my drawings these portraits become characters; facial features are morphed into expressions reminiscent of those found in the work of Hogarth or Daumier. I often arrange these characters next to one another to suggest relationships taken from a more complex narrative. In one recent drawing, an African tribal figure (sketched from an ethnographic bronze sculpture in the Chicago Field Museum) holds a baby with the head of an 18th century French general (sketched from a marble portrait bust in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York). By creating such juxtapositions, I reanimate these figures as characters with an unknown history that is left for the viewer to decipher.

Within my compositions I insert letter forms; some recognizable from the English alphabet, some of my own invention. I distribute these graphic elements throughout my compositions until I create a balance between three-dimensional pictorial illusion and two-dimensional flat graphic space. Letters also function as tools of negotiation or combat between the different characters in my drawings. The letter “J” may become a pointed weapon in one composition or a column in an architectural facade in another. “O”s, “D’’s and “Q’’s link together to form chains that may bind certain characters together or mark boundaries between them. These cryptic letter forms in my work also suggest secret codes and lost languages.

My compositions mix various visual components from storybook illustration, movie poster design, and text book diagrams. Through my drawings and prints I document and reconsider the remnants of our collective cultural past. My work addresses how the meaning of objects and symbols is altered through time and context. This art process is my way of investigating the boundaries between historical fact and creative invention.