In case I don’t talk about it enough (YEA RITE), I wanted to share a little more about my residency in Iceland, especially with regards to the latest series of atmospheric landscape paintings emerging from it.
Iceland has always been at the top of my bucket list. There are few places like it on Earth, which is why it was so alluring to begin with; there’s really nothing "earthly" about it. To someone as infatuated by the existence of strange worlds in outer space as I am, a trip to Iceland seems as close as it gets to an exoplanetary expedition. The volcanic landscape is encrusted with bizarre textures, the skies are vibrant and ever-changing. The air feels unfamiliar (i.e. fresh) and it’s eerily quiet. There is color everywhere, even when snow and ice cover everything in sight.
I got to create a lot of work during my residency, and knew that there would be more to come once I returned home. But, I could not have predicted that the hardest part would be choosing which of the thousands of photos taken from my journey would become subject matter, while trying not to be too critical of their comparability (or lack thereof) to the real thing. Indecisiveness and insecurity aside, as soon as I started painting, I was instantly reconnected to all those powerful memories from my time there: the golden afternoons, pensive walks, sunrises, mountainsides, whiffs of sulfur, and perfect solitude.
When I think about what I want to get out of this series, that’s all I could ask for—to honor the memories and lessons from being in such a unique place, and in doing so, to be washed with gratitude for them. I think there’s something distinctly human about that. It stirs the spirit of curiosity and adventure inside all of us, something I’ve always found mesmerizing about human beings, something my work has always been about. Turns out, experiencing Iceland was a means to living out that idea for myself.
Eventually, I’ll return to painting the stars. I already kind of miss it. But it’s important to see how this series will impact future work, and to give it my time and energy and my whole heart. I owe it to Iceland.