On time spent studying as an artist:
I always drew. My parents bought me a little painting set when I was younger. I still have it. I bought it with me to college and painted in my dorm room. That’s where I figured out oil paints.
After school, I went to study abroad, one semester in Spain and one in Italy. I was the only student at the time studying Advanced Painting, which was made into a year-long independent study. I was allocated a loft space in which I could draw and paint alone all day long, anytime. It was like I was in a classroom of my own. My advisor would come by maybe every two or three weeks. I did not have the benefit of having classmates, so there was very little critique, I was just left to play and experiment on my own. It was here that I developed good studio etiquette and practice. At this point, I wasn’t thinking critically of my work. I wasn’t looking at other paintings. I was really naïve but that’s what it was.
After school, I applied to some art schools and got into Pratt. It was a no-brainer for me. Both Pratt and New York were mind-blowing. New York City was the first place that I didn’t feel homesick. (And I’m the kid who would get the Sunday night blues, homesick at the thought of leaving home the following.) I just thought ‘this feels right, here are all these people here who want to spend their time making art’, and that felt good.
However, the depth of the art world in New York was very new to me. My classmates had just come from years at art school and were armed with a language that I was not aware of. It was intimidating at first but it also encouraged me to research and find out about all of these painters they were referencing and talking about. I had to learn their language and then in a way I had to un-learn it too, which took years. I had to teach myself out of an intellectual place and instead try and find an intuitive, personal, bodily place to work from.
A great quote that somebody once said, “Painters who paint develop instinct, painters who don’t rely on intellect which is boring.” I relate to that very much. It’s like growing a new muscle.