About the tall tales series

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Tall Tales tell the stories of my life thus far: the experiences, dreams, fears and aspirations that I've collected in my 33 years of adventure. The lanky-limbed characters spin a collective yarn, uniting the viewer and artist in an unfolding tale of an artist's life.

The series puts an introspective and contemporary twist on western art. I create fictional characters and root them in the nonfiction narrative of my life, bridging the divide between reality and my imagination. The mixed media paintings feature four characters that represent different aspects of my identity:

SLIM PICKENS rugged and kind, this slender cowboy meanders the vast expanses of the West, searching for spiritual truth, helping those in need and fighting for what is good and right in his world. Slim is cool, calm and collected, especially when his six-shooter is unholstered. He made his debut over ten years ago as a last-minute solution to a self-portrait assignment that I was struggling with. Since that fateful day when I decided to just "paint a tall cowboy", Slim has come to represent who I aspire to be: brave, compassionate, tough, spiritual and a stalwart of righteousness.

BLUEBEARD this wild hillbilly gets his name from the title of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut novel (read it!) and he is as zany and unpredictable as his beard is blue. Curiosity and wanderlust course through his veins and he is always seeking out the road less traveled with his shotgun in hand. Bluebeard embodies my creative spirit, which seems to float above all the nonsense, never allowing itself to get tethered to any one idea or place.

JACK KNIFE dark, brooding and mischievous, Jack is a prowler armed with a razor-sharp knife and a sly grin. Jack lost vision in his left eye from a childhood accident and he's had a chip on his shoulder ever since. Fear dictates Jack's moves, which typically serve only himself. Jack represents the parts of me that I don't wish to encourage, but are there nonetheless.

THE LADY a siren with a heart of gold, The Lady is more than just a muse; she's the boss. Her strength is quiet and her power is in her faith. She doesn't need to prove anything to anyone and her ego doesn't guide her decisions. The Lady knows what's important and will stand up for what is right every time. She represents all that I've learned from the amazing women in my life, most notably my wife and two mothers.

With his latest series, I've taken my artistic toolbox and dumped all of the contents onto the floor of my studio, picking up whichever color, medium or technique fit the story I was trying to tell. There are my familiar acrylics and collaged paper, but I also use oils, watercolors, graphite, soluble copper and India ink. I continue to use drips and splatters, but I've also been experimenting with charring the wood panels with a torch, a process that is a lot of fun and makes for a striking effect. In the end, the works in Tall Tales are vibrant, refreshingly expressive and more true to the process than I've ever been in my art.