How did you come across the potential of fireworks as an artistic tool?
In 2001-2002, when I lived in Roswell New Mexico for a year-long artist residency, I began to explore pyrotechnic art using fireworks. I arrived in Roswell that winter still very shaken by the collapse of the Twin Towers. I was thinking about bombs, explosions, chaos, good/evil, toxic smoke, death, invasion and threats of war. I spent a good amount of time at the Roswell Museum and Art Centre studying, researching and sketching from Goddard’s experimental rockets in the museum’s collection. Later that year, there was an especially grand display of fireworks throughout the country on the 4th of July. I had purchased a random firework assortment for my own celebration. I lit and threw them onto a smooth cement floor outside my studio and a blue smoke bomb left a perfect dotted line on the floor. That night I began my first “firework drawings".
You haven't just restricted yourself to fireworks. Waffle irons and fairground rides have also served you artistically. What is your attraction to non-traditional tools?
I am very interested in technology-based systems that generate marks. The technology that I work with is popular and common. I‘ve worked with arcade games (video and pinball), cars and fire trucks, floor polishers, lawn mowers, amusement park rides, hand guns, waffle irons and land-based fireworks. I find ways to capture the marks these mechanisms make over periods of time through drawing, painting, sculpture, photography or video. The images they create are fascinating because they are never what I would have expected. Playing pinball on my Evel Knievel Pinball machine generated elongated skull-like images. Large (40 ft x 40 ft) spyrographic images where created by turning a “Scrambler” amusement park ride into a drawing machine.
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