Every October I launch a paper collection: these pieces great to give (or get) as a holiday gift (the size and price are on the smaller side of my usual work) though the real reason for the timing is the sprucing factor. It’s holiday season: the time where people are coming over to your house for whatever reason, and all of a sudden, your house needs a little sprucing. Change of pillows, a few layering accents—add some new smaller art and it’s feels fresh again.
As I started this collection, I wanted to have some creative freedom in the studio—the only rules were the sizes, and it couldn’t look like everything else. It needed to feel like my art (signature marks, colors, layered, lots of texture) but I wanted pieces that were a little different… grittier, funkier, artsier.
Details from "Adventure Notes" 15" x 11"
You see, I have this thing about looking like everyone else. Well, what I should say is I can’t stand to be part of a trend. It all started in high school:
I had this long-standing crush: I was the nerd who did his homework (cringe) and we were best friends when his girlfriend or others weren’t hanging around. Basically, I was waiting for my “10 things I hate about you” moment that never came.
While eventually the big takeaway was a better sense of self-worth, there was a pivotal moment in our hang outs:
We were walking around our small hometown, both 16 years old at the time, and came across a shop with Clarke’s wallabies in the window. It was the early 2000’s, and they were having a revival: everyone was wearing them (another cringe moment).
I was dying for a pair and told him as much.
“Why? Everyone is wearing them,” he said.
“Exactly!” I retorted.
“There’s nothing cool about being like everyone else. And you’re not like everyone else,” he replied.
Pretty profound for a teenage boy… and be still my teenaged heart!
The crush lasted a few more years, but that moment has stuck with me since. And really, shaped me. How boring to be like everyone else.
L: Me, age 17, NYE 2003, not wearing wallabies but a gold jacket I adored
So what does this have to do with the collection? Trends. There seems to be a huge trend in paper right now: loose child-like florals, overly simplified geometric shapes, big faces to name a few. And I’m just thinking… how boring. And easy, truthfully. Trends defeat the purpose of original art.
Original art is special because you can’t get it everywhere else. When you invest in original art, the idea is that amplifies your interests, your vibe, your original taste, so that your home décor feels like the best version of you; not your neighbor’s.
"Go Leave Your Mark," 15" x 11" oil collage on paper, sold unframed
All this to be said, I was really feeling the anti-trend mode when making this collection. So I started playing. I had collections of vintage French papers—pages of diaries, receipts, notes— in my studio that I began adding. I didn’t want to use those as the base paper (yes, I’d seen that trend too). What I was interested in was the penmanship, lines and stamps that these papers from decades past had. So I used parts of them. I love that they gave a nod to the past—mixing past and present weaves a story of nostalgia that I want you to feel in all of my pieces. Going with that, I added some of my own small studies and color palette swatches from previous paintings. This gave a notebook vibe—almost like a peek into a creative’s plan book. The texture, text and pattern like paint strokes felt interesting, different, and intimate.
Details of "Big Plans," 15" x 11" oil collage on paper
Playing all of this up with my signature marks and earthy color palettes tied the bow on this collection. The end result is a collection of conversation starter pieces-- cool, different, yet still completely go with the fabrics and colors in the room.
“So many layers that keep the eye moving and diving deeper into the painting. They add that extra layer that brings a space to life."
What I love even more, is that these pieces that operate like accent pieces to a space. So when you have a solid collection of statement pieces, you can layer these smaller ones in for depth. Or if you’re just starting out, these pieces (especially the 30” x 22”) have an awesome impact in a room. No two are alike, and they all have lots of fun things to say. The smaller pieces are perfect for hallways, gallery walls, powder rooms, while the large pieces make a statement-- think doubled up in a foyer.
"Adventure Notes" and "Last Summer's Map" both 15" x 11" oil collage on paper
Whichever you choose, just remember the words of my high school crush: “There’s nothing cool about being like everyone else. And you’re not like everyone else.”
The collection debuts Wednesday, October 18th 2023 at 11AM EST on my site. Email subscribers get early access at 9AM EST. Get on my email list here.
Keep reading more about my inspiration and process in my other posts, here.