In 2006 I began a series of large-scale oil paintings based upon the small action figures that
I played with as a boy. I remember these figures as being magnificent.
They represented power, beauty, good and evil, and they captured every
aspect of my imagination. As a young adult, these toys are wonderfully
nostalgic, but they're no longer amazing to me. The patterns that adorn many of the canvases are often taken from fabric, rug or wallpaper patterns from my childhood home. The original toy is often framed in a shadowbox attached to the painting, acting as a modern reliquary for these figurines. The ineffability of what can turn a cheap yet coveted piece of plastic
into an almost talismanic object was the original inspiration for this
work. I am also motivated by the amorphous line that is drawn between
imagination and reality, childhood wonder and adult practicality. I could point to the irony of spending hundreds of hours to create a single painting that glorifies a cheap, mass-produced toy as inspiration. Or state that this is about commodity fetishism, insatiable consumerism, Peter Pan Syndrome or shallow idolatry. But I want these paintings to represent something positive in my life, because although it was
sheltered and naive, there was a freedom in my childhood. It was free
from the politics of race and sex and religion. It was free from the weight of
history. It was free from rhetoric and paranoia, shame and regret, cynicism and despair. There is nothing profound about commenting on the
minor tragedy of losing one's innocence, or the struggle to maintain one's
idealism. I just want to renew my faded sense of awe.