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Last June I finished a large pencil drawing entitled 'Hayman,’ which depicts the 2002 Hayman Wildfire smoke plume as I saw it from Denver, Colorado. The image I remember most vividly is the one I incorporated into my drawing; the view out my forth-floor apartment window the second or third night of the fire. That evening I saw a boiling mass of smoke erupting out of the mountains to the southwest of town. It was back-lit by the sunset and resembled a volcanic explosion more than a thunderstorm.

I wanted to incorporate a feeling of scale and power into this piece, and to push my pin-point pencil drawing technique as I could. It was a legitimate feat of endurance that I chipped away at, little by little, over nine years, in three towns, in two states.

While working on Hayman, I would occasionally steal parts of it with my digital camera to experimentally create Rorschach-like, or kaleidoscopic images in Photoshop by copying and mirroring them. After completing the piece, I remembered this process, expanded upon it, and found a whole new outlet for generating unique images.

The particular formula I follow is somewhat precise within each series, but the individual steps are more intuitive in nature. Once an image has reached a finished state, I flatten it, and throw its constituent elements away, forcing myself to start fresh every time.

If my work embodies a single aesthetic, it is ‘elaboration on a theme.’ I could never have imagined at the time the diversity of images that would spring from that single view out my window almost ten years ago.

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