My work is about empowerment. It is empowering to use tools and make things with my own hands. It is in the making that gives me a sense of control and strength in this chaotic world. Some pieces are planned while others are more intuitive and free. I use plasma arc cutting for the subtractive pieces and FCAW, ARC or TIG welding for the additive sculptures.
The idea of using metal comes from my past experience as a welder/machinist in the Air Force. Metal is a tough medium and I believe it conveys the themes of strength and tenacity through it’s materiality. My work may read as abstract objects in space. However, as a whole, they have an overarching narrative of personal history, identity, perseverance and tenacity in the face of adversity. Each work is intended to spark conversation and inquiry into the meaning behind the process and materials, whether it be my own story or that of the viewer.
The work with the seemingly odd shapes are camouflage from military BDU’s. I would wear Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU’s) daily, so the camoflage shapes are taken from those uniforms. The blue paint comes from the Dress Blues I would wear on special occasions. The silver accent symbolizes the medals we would wear on our uniforms. The use of the color black comes from the color of our combat boots. In addition, the dark evening sky as I’d watch the C-130 planes, Black Hawk and Pave-Low helicopters take flight for Special Operations Command.
The use of metal has many meanings for me. It is strong and hard to break. It is a material being used for planes, helicopters and engines in order to take flight, move up and forward. Metal is used in the structure of large buildings, as a skeleton from which everything is built upon. We use metal objects as a means for transporation in order for us to reach our destination.
Being able to manipulate such a rugged material is empowering. The process of manipulation and the material itself both represent empowerment, moving forward, strength, tenacity and the ability to work hard to achieve goals.