Now that I have explained how my military experience has influenced my art, it would be good to talk about my introduction to paper cutting and how it influenced my painting.
I first discovered (I say discovered like I found a new country, but I mean it in the personal sense) paper cutting on a visit to China in 2004. I was there as part of a exchange program, when I went back to school for my degree in art. While there we visited the city of Foshan, where there was a school of paper cutting. I immediately saw the possibility of making this part of my art.
So I went to the instructor and asked “Are there books or videos I could buy to learn paper cutting?”
She said “NO, to learn you would have to come here for three years to study under a master.”
So I asked “Okay, how about these tools do you sell them?”
She said “NO, you would have to come here to study for three years.”
So I asked “Okay, can I come here and study?”
She said “NO, you are not Chinese.”
After I moved to China I started visiting the school observing the technique for paper cutting and practicing at home. This gave me a greater sense of my idea for my paintings. I started working on my paintings as a style of my paper cutting and my style of paint by numbers, a POP stye of work I started during that time.
I formed the paintings as painting lines in a Chinese line painting, laying the canvas down and painting the lines. I would than put an underline color on the canvas of blue that would help the other colors stand out. Using a dead pallet and the color orange I would fill in the spaces with paint just like a color by numbers. The designs in the the water and sometimes in the background is something that I picked up from visits to rural areas of China, Korea, and Japan. Similar designs were painted on cloth by minority groups in China. I felt that the designs fit well with the ideas of mixing contemporary and traditional forms of art, and it gave me an area to express my ideas about thoughts behind the paintings.