What’s your story?
I started painting prolifically more so when I was in Athens, [Ga.]. I picked up the paintbrush a lot more, really enjoyed color, pushing it around and just started nonstop—it’s ongoing. Then I moved to Atlanta, hung out there for a little bit, struggled of course because the city’s a lot more expensive than Athens. Someone let me hang [art] in their restaurant or something. When I came here, I was doing a charity thing down Main Street, and the owner of the Hopf came by and took a look and she ended up buying a piece, and she was like, “Well, let me see how much work you got,” and I got a lot, you know? If the wall’s hanging my art up or not, there’d probably be a warehouse full by the time I was dead if not more. It’s the only thing I know. Solidified my life. I definitely will be painting until the end of my days—it’s the only thing I care about. If someone’s really true about [something], they’re just going to keep on going until they just can’t do it anymore. Usually death is one of the main reasons why you stop at something.
What makes you feel alive? What inspires you artistically?
A lot of things. I mean, other people’s feelings and emotions can make you feel alive—it doesn’t necessarily have to always draw from your own self. I have a family and friends and that’s what society and living in culture is about in the first place, you know? Not everyone can function on their own. If everyone’s blanked out or running around with the same head and ideas, you’re certainly not going to perpetuate yourself or get anywhere. Inspirations for this year have been lots of different things—family pet died, that was kind of hard. I really miss—what inspired me—was sleeping next to flowers. I miss that. I really miss that.
What are the main themes you see repeated in your work? What do you want to communicate?
[I want to] communicate, basically, what I’m doing at that point in time, what’s going through my mind. Musicians—what note he’s hearing right then and there he’s going to want to throw out. It may read true the colors and the emotions are what they say, or I may do the exact opposite maybe to disguise what I’m trying to feel, or try to pull myself out of that idea of what I’m thinking. It’s an outlet, of course—that’s a given. It may not make sense, maybe shaving off a piece of your hair or skin, plucking an eyelash and throwing it onto a plate. It’s giving small pieces at a time—I mean you can’t give yourself completely every single time because it’s so much emotion just for one person. Something about painting for myself is in striving—[and asking,] “What am I pouring in here?”
I used to work on cardboard a lot, ‘til I found out that it’s really acidic, and it’s not going to last. I think I did something on the back of a piece of carpet sample before, and that’s as far-thinking as I’ve gone. I also worked with a different medium this year—I haven’t played with clay since high school, and that was really frustrating at first but then really fun, and I can’t wait to show that off just to see what kind of feedback I get and what people think about that. I’m excited about clay pieces. You’re doing more with your hands and it’s visually stimulating to see a three-dimensional piece come to life.
How do you see the art scene in Columbia changing?
I’d like to think I’m a part of that, and I’m sincere about that, because it’s been a real tradition around here. People need to be a lot less judgmental and a lot more open, because that’s what art’s about. It’ a free forum—you should be able to express yourself in any way within the confines of the law.
What’s the most powerful thing art has done to you—creating and/or seeing it?
You get things either out of your soul or your mind or your heart. You get to pour it out, and maybe even let someone share in that, and they can relate. And maybe I am helping someone out that I don’t even realize. I have to pull it out of myself first and then pour it out, but it’s not like I’m doing it for other people. That just wouldn’t make sense—I’d be a slave.
What musical roles do you place in Unresolved, and what’s the current status of where Unresolved is musically?
I write lyrics, and I write for the guitar, drums, keys, and harmonica. It’s starting pretty fast and we recently recorded for Time Warner On Demand. That means in about two weeks you can go on the Time Warner On Demand channel and see the videos we did, along with other Columbia musicians.
How would you describe your music and who do you perform with?
That’s hard—it’s such a mixture. It’s like my art in that, because it’s such a solidified body of work, I can go wherever I want with it. People have said it sounds somewhere along lines of Jim Morrison, a mixture between softer stuff and a little bit of indie rock, and maybe a hint of a late 60s kind of feel. It’s pretty eclectic, and there’s no solidified song that classifies it, which I appreciate because I’d be bored of singing the same way. Mark McKellar—he’s rhythm guitarist, Christopher Tuck—we call him Tuck—is the lead guitarist, and then our drummer is Dave—we call him drummer Dave