In 1992 I started making paintings with one brush stroke. It seemed like enough was happening within a single brushstroke to keep me interested. I wanted it to look puffy, like the pigment used for those hands in cave drawings. It was all about speed, touch, timing. It’s hard to be precise. When I first started doing these single-brush paintings, if I didn’t like what I’d done, I’d get on my hands and knees with a can of mineral spirits and a bunch of rags and wipe it off. By the time I was done with that, I had lost the kind of muscle memory of what I was trying to do. And it is very important for the paintings that they are a transfer of an accumulation of muscle memories from the body to the brush.
So I was looking for a way to quickly wipe that slate clean. And I came up with this method where I prepared the canvas with a surface that was very smooth and tough. And if I don’t like my brushstroke, which I usually do, I can just wipe it clean without losing that muscle memory of what my intentions are. The brushstroke itself is created in a matter of seconds, even if I work on it all day or a few days. It’s interesting to think about how things have changed since 1992. It almost sounds corny or smart, but I’ve discovered why I make the paintings. By making them, I have not only learned who I am, I have learned what is important to me as an artist.
My deepest being is contained in the brushstrokes – in a very invisible way. It’s all there. Nothing is added or subtracted; it is just what it is, complete with weaknesses or whatever. I have found that there is more of me in those few brushstrokes than I would have liked to admit. I think my trans nature is visible to everyone. The brushstrokes – they are strong and delicate at the same time. They are imprints of my body, transmitted through the hand or wrist, coming from my whole being, body and mind. When I revisit some of the older paintings, it seems like my true nature is still there for all to see. And it’s something really nice for me to look back on now. It’s like I knew myself better than I thought.
This interview has been edited and abridged.