Titling is clearly an important part of your practice – what comes first, word or image?
Sometimes titles float around for awhile until the right piece is made that can support it. I see the title as a kind of idea and the picture as the emotional, unexplainable counterpart to that. There has to be a poetic collision of the two. The title can never be illustrative of the image and vice versa, otherwise I feeling as though I am ‘dumbing down’ or trying to over-explain to the viewer. I think the title should push the image further and act as a sort of aura that lingers around the painting after reading it.
Language occasionally creeps into the work itself, echoing concrete poetry, and the way you write and arrange titles also has a formal resemblance to poetry – is the medium a conscious influence?
Poetry is probably a bigger influence on me than the visual arts. I find the combination of word and image very interesting. I really love the metaphoric quality of poetry and feel as though metaphor is, though harder to achieve, still possible in painting. It is something that very few painters seem to be interested in. My favourite poets, and ones I consistently return to, are Cesar Vallejo, William Stafford, Kenneth Koch, David Ignatow, Antonio Porchia, Robert Creeley, Jaime Sabines, Yehuda Amichai, Roberto Juarroz, Kenneth Rexroth and Roberto Bolano. Unfortunately everyone on this list is dead, and two more great American poets just passed on this last year: Bill Knott and Galway Kinnell. It feels like a dying art as so few people read poetry anymore, but there are a still some great poets floating around, people like Jeff Alessandrelli – his latest book This Last Time Will Be The First is excellent.