Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Aemiessence Fine Arts: About Me

I work primarily in three mediums: photography, ink drawing, and sculpture, although working in mixed media is often my favorite - such a creating a space to then photograph.  Much of my work is theological and spiritual in nature: classwork and research from and for both my seminary masters degrees (M.Div. and M.A.) have inspired much of the artwork that I've created over the years.   

My love of the creation of visual art when I took photography in high school, which prompted me to major in art in college and earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in 2001.  During my BFA I took classes in 2D and 3D design, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and drawing, with my interests at the end of the degree program turning to performance art and installation work.  

During my degree at Bethel Seminary I lived in St. Paul, MN and taught Large Format Photography at the IFP Minneapolis/St. Paul, as well as created a photographic essay of the storefront church that I interned at in the Phillips Neighborhood of Minneapolis shot with 4x5 film.  I also created the 2004 Senior Class Gift, a series of photographs that's been on permanent display at Bethel Seminary since August of 2004.

After Seminary I moved to New York City - first Queens, and then after three months down to Brooklyn.  My artwork fell to the back burner for several years, but upon receiving a DSLR from my wife and inspiration, I began to slowly start doing photography again - largely through photographing stand up comedy shows in Brooklyn and at Caroline's on Broadway in Manhattan.  I also started working with pen and ink again, both creating comics and my 'text as texture' drawings which use text to create the texture and forms in the drawings.  I also began to again photograph my favorite subject: night cityscapes.

In 2010 I began attending Jewish Theological Seminary of American in Manhattan for an MA in Bible, and shortly thereafter joined the JTS Artist-in-Residency program which I've now been a member of for six years (as of the time of this writing, 2016).  In addition to creating artwork for our annual exhibitions at JTS, I have been creating the publicity materials for the past five years, and have been the show's installer/co-curator for the past three years - including this year's exhibition which is currently on display.

In addition to my ink drawing and photography, I started creating 'Sacred Tree' sculptures, after doing a great deal of research on sacred tree imagery from the Ancient Near East (ANE).  I have now created well over 200 tree sculptures, from only a couple inches tall through an eight foot tree which was commissioned for a private art collection in Manhattan, where it resides on a Park Ave terrace.  I now have my tree sculptures in India, the UK, and in dozens of cities all across the United States, and have recently donated two medium sized trees to help with fundraising: both for the Allina Foundation in St. Paul, and the Indianapolis Women's Chorus.  

In May of 2015 I was hired as a hospice chaplain in St. Paul, MN and moved out of Brooklyn, which had been my home for the previous 11 years.  I've continued to be a part of the artist residency program at JTS and am now working on getting involved in the arts communities of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Feel free to be in touch!  My email address is aemiessence@gmail.com - thanks for reading!