Professional Canadian Painter, Vancouver, B.C.
All of the sites of my work are located in East Vancouver, where my wife and I live and go for walks. East Van is old enough to have layers of buildings from many decades, sufficiently overlooked to have created sites that seem to have their own secret life.
These forgotten, somehow speaking, sites seem to occur off the grid – vacant lots, lanes, parking lots, strip malls and waste land. Being accidental and impermanent, these sites are often overtaken by development. This is part of natural change in a growing city; these sites are in transition. The anonymous buildings, opportunistic saplings and neglected plantings that inhabit these places have for me a human presence.
There are often fences, barriers and wires in my work; these all serve to occupy and define the space. Although the work is set in East Vancouver it is not driven by social issues such as urban decay or overdevelopment, and I therefore don’t include graffiti or scenes of outright squalor.
Two artists in particular have influenced my work: Hiroshige Ando, a 19th C. Japanese printmaker, and Edward Hopper, a painter in mid-century Manhattan. Hiroshige sometimes obliges the viewer to look around or through an object blocking the foreground, which is a device I have taken from him. I’ve also been affected by his strong use of line. Hopper deployed his commercial art training with its skill in graphic abbreviation to suggest stories about the people in his paintings. But it is his depictions of streets and buildings, with their inherent metaphysical life, that have consistently influenced me.
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