Artist Statement

An artist must live with their antennae constantly alert for the perturbations of ideas, movements and events most likely to change the facts of our lives --- and then respond fully, with vital authenticity at the core primal level, with a fearlessness and openness that risks total vulnerability, in order to assert and celebrate our humanity in the times we live.

In my interactive artwork, I portray this interdependence of individuals with their environments and with each other through bodily interactions. Many of my works do not function unless viewers actively engage with them—by touching, breathing, moving, etc.—so that viewers are essential to the work’s existence as art.

One day, while photographing on the streets of Isfahan, Iran, I spotted a young Persian man wearing a Dixie Chicks t-shirt. I introduced myself, and I inquired whether his t-shirt was intended to signify his dislike for the American President Bush. He smiled, and told me that the shirt represented the admiration that he and his compatriots had for Americans' freedom of speech.

Art is a sensuous expression of the yearning for the unattainable
- A non-existent bridge between the base and the sublime
- Such as the violets’ scent
I have also drawn a great deal of inspiration from being involved in cowboying ventures and ranch associations. That background alone would be enough to fill ones subject search, however lately I have broadened my subject matter to include miscellaneous.

The very beginning of my art career had an interesting start. First, I don’t recall ever painting or drawing at all as a child. When I first began college I was a Psychology/Sociology major, intent on saving the world. Early on I took a Painting course, just to fill a requirement. At that time, my ego was small (having just gone through a divorce) and my instructor was very encouraging about the quality of my first painting. Needless to say, I needed this positive feedback, so I started eating, sleeping and breathing Fine Art. That was nearly 30 years ago.

Life is an ongoing process and so is my work. I’m never afraid to try a new technique, a new clay and I’m never so in love with the last project that I won’t push the limit on the next project.

People ask me why I make quilts, followed immediately by the statement that they "don't have the patience." Creating quilts has nothing at all to do with patience - it is as necessary to me as breathing. I don't even particularly care what happens to them after they are completed - it is the process that drives me.

As an artist, I see my job as translating ordinary images into a form that is distinctive, creative, and unique. I photograph most of my subject matter and then rework these images, simplifying them into bold and graphic forms using combinations of color that strive to create a drama and vibrancy in the painting. I will sometimes place colors side by side that are not traditionally put together. For example, I will use red, mauve and orange together.

It is my goal to create works with meaning and energy, texture and history. I employ processes of making art that contribute to those qualities in my work. I like the bareness and immediacy of drawing, the “delicacy and mutability” of paper, as I throw myself wholeheartedly into expressing that which is on my mind and in my heart. A further concern was also using this body of work to explore the integration of figurative and abstract modes of thinking, drawing and painting, and to push the boundaries therein.

My work is centered around the experience of being in the city. There is no particular aspect of the city that I concentrate on. The people and the urban landscape are equally of interest to me.

Water Colors and drawing allow a wide range of type of artwork, both detailed and loose. I enjoy doing both. My interests lie in the automotive field and I also enjoy Southwestern landscapes and images from the West as well as Midwestern scenes. Consequently my work is comprised of loose and flowing paintings of pottery, cliff dwellings and old barns as well as very detailed automotive renderings and paintings. This is very fulfilling, as it lets me work in different modes. I feel one benefits the other.

Some 30 years ago I jotted this in my journal and it is still true today:
Some may call it dirt
Some dismiss it - mud
No matter what you call it
Clay is in my blood
Yes, clay is in my blood

- Ty Hardaway


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