I went to college at Villa Maria in Cheektowaga, NY. It was such a great college, and met so many good people there. A small group of those good people sold cookies and pizza for a few semesters to raise money for a trip to New York City to study the master artists we learned from in history books. I was one of those people raising funds to take our class on that trip. I bought a few books that I felt would influence, inspire, and maybe teach me some new techniques.
This is how this painting started. I was 20 years old then.
A few years after that trip, my grandmother called me and told me to come outside. Naturally, I looked out of the front window of the house and saw her slowly accelerating up the driveway in her Ford Focus. I went outside to greet her and before we started talking about the Buffalo Bills, she pulled a large and unusual painting out of the trunk. It was a print of a Tudor style feast scene with a gaudy golden frame. My family knows that I love those gaudy golden frames – they just look so good re-painted in black.
I never looked at that painting after that day.
As a Buffalonian, I honored the daily routine of acquiring a Tim Hortons cup of coffee. One day on a drive back home with my mom, we were laughing and listening to music… when I made a discovery that I couldn’t pass up. I watched a neighbor bring a painting out to the street. It looked like one of those paintings you would see in the clearance section at Target or TJ Maxx. I stopped my Jeep Liberty; put it in reverse; and drove backwards to load up that painting.
That painting stayed in the corner of my studio in Buffalo, NY, until I discovered its purpose.
My dad was Spring cleaning the junk out of the garage. My neighbor and friend, Mike, walked into our house and asked me why I was throwing out a painting. I wore a confused look, as I walked outside with him and witnessed all of that miscellaneous rejected garage sale stuff at the curb, in front of my parent’s house. Then I came across the painting that my grandmother gave to me, which I hadn’t seen in years since she gave it to me. I asked Mike if this was the one he was talking about, as I salvaged the piece from the sea of unsorted shelves and old hockey sticks. Immediately, I thought that this frame looked like it could fit that new canvas that I, ironically, also salvaged from a curb. There is absolutely no way that could be possible though. It’s just too weird.
Well, guess what? I ripped that old painting from the frame and took the canvas that I found to check if it was a match. The canvas fit perfectly: not even a 1/16″ short on one side!
So, the books I bought in NYC, the golden framed Tudor feast painting, and that Target painting all came together one day when my friend Mike came over to ask about the painting. He followed me outside and I grabbed that frame to bring inside. That’s when it all came together! That canvas fit perfectly within that frame!
That’s when I knew what I was going to paint! I was going to revisit my classic theme of monochromatic paintings of women surrounded by flourish patterns.
See, those specific events of my life came together within this idea of the painting. It’s almost a commemoration to very specific days that I’ve lived. Isn’t that the very definition of how our we conclude our decisions: different events in our lives that create a sequence to make a yes or no decision?
As I began to place paint on the canvas, I video recorded the entire process with my GoPro camera. In post-production, I added some animations, and edited the audio & video tracks in Adobe Premiere. I was heavily influenced by the music of Mayday during the entire time I created this painting.
Please enjoy the time-lapse video!!
You can purchase prints in The Art Shop: What You Wished For Print.