After college, I returned to painting as a way of taking “Time to Study Flowers“—appreciating the world as if outside of time, in a flow state of attention to beauty all around that became for me like a meditation practice. For years I also exhibited and sold art, sometimes using it to illustrate more academic points (e.g., here). Lately I’m more into making art with my young son than by myself. But here’s a brief history of how my practice has been evolving.
This series of poems with illustrations (including paintings, drawings ft. words, and collages ft. mixed media) envisions future war crimes trials. Blog version (poems and illustrations), book version (finalized poems).
This series of cut colored paper illustrations presents a tongue-in-check update to the Ten Commandments.
Vagabonding, second poetry book (2018), cover art:
Push Coasts, first poetry book (2015), illustrations:
Selected other Harvard postdoc period work (2014-2015):
In Boston, I experimented with different instrumentation like a palette knife.
Selected other UCLA postdoc period work (2014-2015):
Some of this work illustrated poems, some songs.
“Psychic X-Rays,” selected dissertation (2014) illustrations:
This work was all made while I was completing my National Science Foundation-sponsored dissertation research on bias in polygraphy. It was given away in gratitude to some of my wonderful mentors.
Other previous (political):
After college, I returned to painting as a way of making space in my life to be still and quiet, and have joy for the sake of having joy. To me that was always what art was meant to do—to celebrate truth and beauty for its own sake, in defiance of any effort to generate utility or monetary value, or to be directed for an instrumental purpose at all, and without anyone telling you what to do or how to do it. That spirit of aesthetic appreciation and freedom was expressed in a few poems I published during this period, as well as in later writing. Colorful still lives of flowers in im-ex (impressionist/expressionist) style were a favorite then, along with mother and child paintings with salvaged colored glass.
“Time to Study Flowers”: 2005-2013, Virginia