I was eager to get right to work the minute this commission came in. It’s a combination of different rooms and furniture pulled from the famous, the posh, notoriously private, Hotel Costes in Paris. I pieced certain things I loved about the hotel interior together in one room. Now that I think of it, quite like a dream isn’t it? Whatever environment you’re in, there’s always some kind of inaccuracy.
The gentleman that commissioned this piece had the best memories of his life in this hotel. This man’s name is Vahe. He’s been a devout collector of mine since I started selling art. I’m so grateful for so many things about Vahe. He has the most fastidious taste of any man I have ever met. The inside of his apartment has a lot of gray tones. Like, the grays that are so rich with the colors that made it gray. They are almost holographic the way they change colors in the light. That kind of gray that only someone with ex ray vision would select. Vahe’s apartment down town LA has this incredible balance. It’s chunky and masculine, but not overcompensating. It has feminine finishes in some of the shapes he chose. It’s layered, it’s rich. There’s a strength I can’t really describe. Everything is just built extremely durable, and thick and heavy. Nothing is plastic and will need replacing. It’s the perfect house for my over weight, clumsy father. He’s a bull in a china closet. They made that saying up because of him. The dry wall cracks every time he rolls over on the couch he sleeps on.
To have someone with this level of well bred taste collecting my work has been the biggest self esteem booster for me. I didn’t grow up around money or anything decadent. I grew up small town. If you had money, your wealth was measured by how many snow mobiles you had, or the size of your RV. So being 24, and initially meeting Vahe, and selling him his first piece was a game changer for me. I took everything to the next level. Over the years he’s bought several pieces. I’m always eager to see how they look in the context of his aesthetic.
Vahe was envious of the large painting I did in India. The gray room with the black and white rug. He wanted me to stay on that vibe to make the hotel piece. I think the reason that India painting had the response it did was because I’ve been outgrowing my paper and my canvas for a very long time up to this point. I did not have the kind of space in LA to create what I needed to create to transition into a new era. I needed so desperately bad to paint with my whole body. To be able to use the momentum from my shoulders and core. To be on a ladder. To take 20 feet back and look at the painting from a distance to see what’s going on. My biggest issue with setting up the frame work for a painting is how I size things. I make everything too big and I run out of room. Painting this large, I don’t have to worry about that. I think what also gave this painting an edge was how many different mediums I used. The contrasts are harsh. Obviously better in person, but still translated as such. I used caked on oil paint. Not thinned down, straight from the tube. I used matte, chalky paints, spray paint, and construction worker pencil.
I went through some troubles with this hotel painting. I’ve been a bit rusty, plus I have a new tremmor, so there was a block in my hand, eye coordination. There’s always a fear I have when someone falls in love with something I’ve created all from being very in the moment. When they want me to bring that to a new creation. It’s quite literally impossible for me. I don’t often recall what I did to get the painting there. It’s all a blur. So I had to overcome some fears and intimidations I had while getting this piece started. Once I started seeing the vision and where it was going, it’s always really romantic from there. That is the moment that my art becomes therapeutic for me. The moment all of heavy technical thinking is all sorted out. It’s all there. Expound upon. That’s the best part. That’s the part where finishing touches come in and all of the labor pays off. There’s a harmonious thoughtlessness to it. The moment I crave. Similar feeling to being a zillion miles away in a good book. I’m no longer in my body. I’m no longer thinking “am I tired? Should I take more caffeine? Probably not, I’ve already had a lot, but I’m tired. Am I getting a head ache? Not sure but I’ll go take something for it just in case. My back hurts. I need to crack it on the railing. Should I walk to seven eleven? I want something carbonated.” It’s exhausting, and extremely difficult to be creative when you’re someone who is too stuck in their body. You crave an out of body experience so bad. Far superior than a narcotic high. It takes so much work and concentration to get yourself to this place. Once you’re there, it’s a high that keeps you glowing for a couple days after.
It takes a certain kind of person with really polished taste to be attracted to my work. It’s rare, and I cherish it when I see it. They always tend to have just an ever so slight lazy eye. That lazy eye Is where I exist.