About my art

An Artist's Statement on "Catastrophe", "Terrarium" and "Precarious Stack"

On a handful of occasions, I have come face to face with big spiders, angry hornets or other unidentified creepy crawlies in my home. If I could manage it, I would always try to capture the critter under a cup or in a jar rather than smashing it to dust. Once contained, the fear would immediately turn to fascination. All of the anxieties I had about its bite or sting would melt away, giving me a moment to enjoy its beauty before releasing it outside. 

These three series of drawings "Catastrophe", "Terrarium" and "Precarious Stack", are all attempts to capture that calming intimate moment with something anxiety inducing. "Catastrophe",  the first chronologically, plays with scale so that we might feel like giants compared to a globally massive disaster. "Terrarium" is another play on scale but with the added bonus of containing the disaster or monster in a vessel. One could literally take the anxiety and place it on a shelf for safe keeping. "Precarious Stack", is the most freewheeling of the three, as it is neither miniature or bottled up. The kinetic energy is meant to hold our attention so that we might study its every detail before looking away with a tentative sense of trust. A similar feeling to taking your attention away from a bug under a cup. 

An Artist's Statement on Robots

Robots are rather peculiar creatures, to say the least.

Since robots are created by us, they retain a certain familiarity and humanity. Naturally robots have been created in our own image, albeit crudely at times. In the way that a painter often paints a portrait, he will naturally veer towards the idealized perception of his subject, erasing the flaws and imperfections until a beautiful rendering is complete. In the case of robots, we have striven to paint their portrait over and over again in different lights and with a varied palette. Each new generation of robot breeds another obsessive step in our attempt at perfection since we cannot be perfect ourselves. So, if we can never be as perfect as robots then they will never truly be either. Then again, if any of our creations might surpass us it will likely be a robot with artificial intelligence. As much as that prospect may give us anxiety it also gives us hope. Hope that their bright future could ultimately be our salvation; much like that of a parent and its offspring.

However, perfection is not necessarily the loftiest of goals. Especially so if we intend to interact with them, or for that matter, construct a form of artificial intelligence. The human mind, along with the world we live in, is static and full of idiosyncrasies. The best way for robots to deal with the reality of this world is to find ways of programming them with versions of our emotions; empathy, happiness, curiosity, gratitude, hope, remorse to name a few. Perhaps the most important characteristic we might have in common with robots is our ability to make mistakes and learn from them. Often, in our popular culture robots are portrayed as cold, calculating and unemotional. This is an alarming prediction of our future with robots and is certainly not fixed. We might do well to raise them the way we raise a pet or even a child, with love and respect. Simply put: Robots are tools. Although complex in their making, these tools are clean slates with the versatile potential of both the  ‘pen’ and the ‘sword’. It is up to us to decide which legacy is mightier.

As this series has evolved over the years, so have the robots themselves. Each new drawing reveals another wonderfully nostalgic moment illustrating the human condition. They remain incredibly endearing, kind, witty, honest and remarkably innocent. Long live the Robots!