Early talent often dominates identity.
I must have been five when I drew a profile on an etch-a-sketch and discovered the delight this odd little knack produced in the people around me. I first drew to impress; I continued to draw because it gave me joy. Yet I was confused, and my art, being ultimately autobiographical, was confused.
Crisis inevitably flooded my life and spilt into my studio. While earning my Master’s degree at Yale, the stark revelation that I felt valuable to God and others only because of my talent was a truth too difficult to avoid any longer. So I gave up, let go… and it all unraveled. At the end of the undoing, God waited patiently. Secure for the first time in unconditional love, I asked nightmare questions: Should I do art any longer? What should it be about? So I spent time studying God with the same focus and fascination I experienced in the studio. He absorbed me more then any painting ever had, and I was willing for the first time to risk it all, to be misunderstood and unimpressive because I was fastened securely in Divine love, what could any man’s opinion do to me?
And so I thrashed about in my studio, contending with the task of interpreting colossal concepts like eternity, free-will, chaos and order with laughably insufficient tools… with pens, plastic, paper, scissors. In the thrall and fear of it all, I found myself traveling far, making progress till I was able to describe my work thus: I use lines, only lines. Steered by simple rules, these lines are given the opportunity to accumulate and, given time, strange, intricate articulations begin to take shape. I use rules to see if there can still be surprise in the midst of structure, hoping that basic imitation of such mysterious processes can infuse a kind of intuitive understanding of their ways. Choosing the most basic, childish parts, I assemble them in the most basic, childish ways. It’s embarrassing really. But in the end, somehow I write deliberate, accidental symphonies…scribbled one ordinary note at a time.