I was born in Danville, Virginia on August 10th, 1978. As early as I can remember, I enjoyed a steady diet of comic books, KISS, pro-wrestling, drawing, monsters and kung-fu movies. When I moved to Alexandria,VA I discovered skateboarding and punk rock. I shaved my mullet and began going to Washington DC on a regular basis to see punk shows, buy ninja stars in Chinatown and look at the art at the free museums.
I left when I was 18 to study art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond,VA. It was the 90s and the music scene was inspiring. Richmond was the sleepy college town I always dreamed of living in and the rent was really cheap. I tried everything at school and ended up making mainly performances and installations by the time I graduated from the sculpture department. I actually learned a lot at VCU although I never felt quite like I fit in.
I then promptly moved to Brooklyn,NY in 2000 to pursue a life of unpredictableness and adventure. Also to find a visual artist community I could be a part of. NYC was pre-9-11 but post-Giuliani and so I ended up in Williamsburg, which at the time was significantly cheaper, less populated, and condo-less. I lived in my friend’s kitchen on a velvet couch in a cardboard room for 6 months and it was quite classy. Then I finally got a dingy warehouse/garage of my own. It was a little like camping indoors.
I co-founded the now defunct art collective WAMP around this time and we put on wild, interactive art show happenings in untraditional venues all over NY. After a couple years, the group disbanded and I wanted to make an art space that had a more consistent presence in the neighborhood. I began collaborating with an artist named Kelie Bowman and after a tragic fire that resulted in our homelessness, we moved into a storefront together in Williamsburg and started Cinders Gallery in 2004. Initially a 6 month project to put on some exhibitions, Cinders became a full-time art space that lasted 7 years and mounted close to 100 exhibitions in that time. As only a 2 person-run operation, we wore many different hats: artists, gallerists, curators, janitors, bartenders, and therapists to name a few. In 2011, our rent was doubled and so we hastily moved out in frustration and confusion. The neighborhood was a-changing for the worse after the rezoning law had gone into effect and the condo developers could build as high as the eye could see. Our days were numbered. We had an ill-fated second space for only 3 months until the bitter old man who owned the building kicked us out for having too many colorful paintings and happy people hanging around.
With the second loss in a year, we were a little too discouraged to pour our energy into yet another space and so we turned over a new leaf and became a non-profit organization with a nomadic approach: we would put on exhibitions and events at other spaces all over the world. We would maintain an online presence and continue to sell artwork from our inventory. Plus most importantly, we would re-focus on our own artwork. Its working and we are still doing all of that.
These days I have one foot in Brooklyn, one foot in Berlin and one foot out the door. My artwork has been evolving immensely over the past couple of years. I was making life-size papier mache sculptures that reanimated the mundane objects and situations of our everyday lives. This culminated in a solo exhibition titled My Slow Called Life which featured a detailed life-size papier mache one-room apartment (down to the veggies in the crisper and the roaches on the stove). Recycling most of my materials and making something from nothing has always been essential to my process and spirit and so I love papier mache as a medium.
Around this time I began working with sound and making my own instruments, most notably a roving golden shopping cart that I performed with all over the place in a 2 man post-apocalyptic duo called DUBKNOWDUB. Then after a trip to Japan, I started making sumi-ink paintings on paper, walls, floors, wood and canvas. Exploring chance operations and abstraction through a rorschach-like process of identification, these paintings are still a source of continued fascination for me and I am constantly working on them everywhere i go.
At the top of my interests currently is a performance project called Saturn Dogs with a dancer/violinist named Manon Parent. Together we merge our different backgrounds in an improvisational performance that combines movement and sound art with noise music, homemade instruments, fried electronics, and science fiction. We are currently performing and experimenting everywhere we can, so check us out if you get the chance. No one show is the same and I can honestly say, you probably haven’t seen anything like it…
Ok, so yeah, that’s ME up to now, basically. If you read this far, well, thanx and keep on checking in for more. And more and more.
email me here: stoishere at Gmail
YADDA YADDA YADDA
NY Times Review by Roberta Smith
“The Lookout,”Art In America
Harold’s Sketchbook on Temple of Bloom
Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof’s Art Blog on Space 1026 show
Artslant on Crooked Smiles
White Hot magazine interview
Art Forum on Family Room
NY Times on Porch Show
NY Arts Magazine on 2005 show with Kelie Bowman