Grasping at a universal lattice of some kind, these studies in pencil and paint on panel are a way to examine the boxes we create or involuntarily find ourselves within. Each cell is populated with it’s own color, influencing the energy of that space. Only when we step outside of those boxes can we see greater patchwork patterns emerge. An aerial photograph of any human settlement will reveal a pattern of change imposed upon the landscape. The same kinds of patterns are employed inside of our technologies, embedded in social structures and modes of thinking. We compartmentalize information, emotions, nature and reality inside of billions and billions of known quantities, but miss all of the space in between. I think there’s more to explore than just boxes, and I’m using these Alter-pieces as a way to map and escape the way we limit our experience.

hobo sign grid

Header image: the Pleiades star cluster. Above, an American Hobo sign.

Along with testing arrangements of grid and lattice structures to describe the ground on which each thought form appears, I’m also playing around with ideograms as a diffused focal point to each image. Constellations, characters or desires encoded into original sigils (symbols with intent), appear etched into the foreground. A halo of color sets the mood and bridges the singularity with the universal backdrop on which it occurs. The Alter-piece is meant to live in everyday spaces, acting as a mirror to focus our intentions, reflecting back at us through mindfulness practice. Each impression of the Alter-piece in passing, subliminally suggests the idea encoded into its symbol. By encouraging contemplation, we are cultivating the fruits of an intentional mindset.

original sigil grid

This image incorporates a dynamic grid rather than squared and a sigil for prosperity.

Appropriate color choices are very important to achieving the right feel in each Alter-piece, as are the patterns made by more complicated grid lines. Starting from a grey or buff ground, I lay in the lattice pattern. From there, I overlay the chosen sigil in the picture plane, giving it more visual weight to call it out. Last, like a stained-glass window, I will start to fill individual panes in a form of ritualized artmaking, focusing on the meaning of the symbol I’m working with, endeavoring to imbue each brushstroke with that specific energy. Surprisingly freed by these self-imposed rule sets, I’m also feeling that I have great latitude in how symbols are applied across ceramic, enamel and painted surfaces.


Color associations help to set a particular mood around the symbol.

More and more, I’m finding that the energy embedded in each Alter-piece only works out when I’m able to execute from a certain kind of heart-space. If I get too linear in my process, the results of this intuitive work suffer. When I get out of my way, things just kind of sort through themselves – like magic! For example, random ideograms plucked from differing sources happen to closely relate to each other, or meditative color mixing lends itself to reinforcing the mood of each composition. Something like a moving meditation, this practice of mindfulness art is becoming essential to my ritualized art making practice and what I’d like my viewer to get out of it.

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