I have long abandoned the ways I used to describe my work, when strangers would ask, “what kind of art do you make? Drawing? Painting?”
I have stopped mentioning my long-held suspicion that art is the 'drag show of ideas,' where ideas find form and communicate through phenomenology.
I have stopped mentioning that the only thing that unites every piece of art, in my opinion, is distance, that even haptic touch involves a delay between the neurons and eventually the brain, that even in physics matter can never touch itself, because matter is mostly empty space. But, there is philosophical touch, they mention, touch as an idea. If I take philosophical touch a little too far, I imagine that my mind has touched everything, that all I have to do to really touch anything is focus, and that is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. But in real life there is still distance, all we can ever really do is get closer and closer.
I have even stopped mentioning my spatial synesthesia, because that comes dangerously close to a biological explanation for why I make art, and I don’t want there to be any biological explanations.
I have stopped telling the story about my long solitary walk through Golden Gate park when I first moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles, where I looked at my hand closely and realized that I would never make anything as compelling or as functional as the muscular-vascular network of my hand, and how that moment for me liberated my mind from any sense of self-grandiosity when it came to my art. I let go of my ego, but very strangely, I still wanted to make art. It is all I ever think about.
All of these things when I mention them have an alienating effect to people who have not studied art, and I have always found that alienation to be heartbreaking.
This is because I consider art to be first and foremost a mode of (mostly nonverbal) communication, and my art is only as good as it’s ability to connect with others —and my ability as an artist is only as good as my willingness and desire to connect with others. It is really important to me to connect with people who have never studied art, who have a different vocabulary and subset of knowledge, experiences, that might be considered high and might be considered low. I have found from my experience that taking time to connect with people who have the most disparate forms of knowledge from what I have, can be the most fulfilling and rewarding of experiences.
When people ask me what kind of art I make, I have found it the most accessible to talk about the projects themselves, I usually say “wearable furniture,” and they will laugh or smile, inadvertently. I think the phrase ‘wearable furniture,’ has broken the ‘waning of affect.’ Sometimes I will say that I “visualize numbers,” or “I make faces at a camera.” Or even, if I am daring, I will say the most uninteresting thing of all: that I sometimes "sit next to half of a cookie for 5.5 hours.” If someone seems excited by any of these prospects, I will elaborate that I make artwork that is on the brink of utility, that what I am really interested in is making things that might not be made in our capitalist society, because they are not quite useful enough, profitable enough, are so incredibly weird, or are simply bad ideas. But even in their stigma or disfunction, I still find these things compelling. I cannot rest until I make them, and therein lies the art.