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Statement

This work is a new series that examines topics of mental health, depression, and other inner workings of the human brain in relation to coping, prescription drugs, vices, addictions, undoing, and the process to feel “complete.”

Mind Games
Mind Games (2021) Acrylic, Flashe, Conte Crayon, graphite, spray paint, and soft pastel on gallery stretched canvas. 40 x 40 x 1.5 inches. Photo: Justin W John

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Relying heavily on texture formed through a distinct drying process that allows the acrylic to dry at different time intervals—restricting air exposure while gravity pulls the paint slowly under a sheet of plastic. The paint is shaken then poured down between the canvas and plastic, pockets of air form then bubble up leaving various sized holes, ripples, creases, and variations of sheen.

Using a base coat of grey, the end result might look like the skin of an elephant or a turbulent dark muddy sea. But for me, it represents the physical brain, grey matter, and the weathering of time. Each piece starts out reminiscent of a Rorschach inkblot test—a dark mass on a white field. A silhouette emerges and color then surrounds and covers the white to bring life and emotion. Emoji-like hieroglyphics, doodles, and other brush strokes begin to spring up like Tweety birds circling the subject’s head. Themes of inverted spectrums, puzzle pieces, grids, and frenetic images build a landscape from the detritus and memories.

Not a complete departure from my previous work, yet still removed, this work feels more vulnerable and raw. Much of it came out during moments where I could clear my head and just let it flow—spontaneous motions that made mind map tracings and etchings of the soul.

More pieces to come, they are in the final stages and still need to be photographed.

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