I've always been fascinated with human behavior. Quirks, habits, what drives people to move through the world the way they do, I find it all very interesting in a humorous way. I love expressions, interesting characters, and awkward behavior.
My work centers around imaginary subjects drawn in an often amusing light (at least for me). Beautiful lines, fine detail and technique, sophisticated color palettes are all things I'm interested in juxtaposing with characters who could often be described as less refined. There is often a feeling of not taking oneself too seriously in my mind while working, whether willingly or by force. I like the idea of antagonizing some of these characters in this way.
This book is intended to have a double meaning. "Presence" is a play on words focusing first on the presence of the often odd or interesting characters, the way the figures look directly at the viewer in most cases with an expressive demeanor.
The second meaning is a bit of a tongue in cheek nod to the word "presents" as "presence" said aloud could easily be misconstrued. All of the backgrounds in this sketchbook are made of wrapping paper, which has significant meaning in my life. First, I adore wrapping paper and wrapping gifts, playing with color, pattern, and texture making each one its own work of art so that the receiver feels the packaging itself is a gift. Without delving too deeply into the psychology of gift-giving, I believe there is an art to it that involves a sort of empathy and selflessness in hunting for the perfect gem that the receiver will fall in love with and perhaps even feel understood by the giver.
The idea of gift-giving is also massively significant in my life as one of my current jobs is working as an artist at the University of Michigan Hospital in the Gifts of Art Program where I have the honor of creating and giving art kits to adult patients. It's an opportunity to provide them with an outlet that very often leads to profound interactions. It's the culmination of my passion for art and doing meaningful work that hopefully makes at least a small difference in the world.
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