I have been using direct references from comics, manga, anime, books, folklore, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi, Kirby, Buscema, and many many more for a long time now. I find that the use of these references generally stem from a familiarity found during my life span, and I attach certain memories, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and the passing of time and all that comes with it to these iconic references. The ability to craft a narrative that speaks of our story due to the use of sampled elements that come from our world, or our specific moments in time that show a relationship of experience, is something that I began learning from great producers like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, The Rza, Dilla, even Kanye. There is something so sacred, so universal, and so personal yet communal about being able to utilize an image (or sound) that already exists in a certain context in history and was created with a certain purpose in mind, but due to the immersion into the tableau of our own personal histories these images take on new definitions and representations for all of us as individuals. I may not have created the image but I am using it just as a writer uses a word or a composer a note to begin to share my experience with my materials and surface and then ultimately to you. I feel everything that I have learned from these images and their makers coupled with all of my feelings, memories, thoughts, ideas, and experiences that I associate them with throughout every part of my life that I invoked their energy so to speak, and the result of re-purposing them creates something that I find to be beyond powerful, nurturing, cathartic, challenging and aids in a deep sense of growth and connection.
I have recently found my way back into the use of comic book references. After some continued digging and self reflection and self work I have found my way back to a period of my life where I began growing and forming ideas, and emotions, and modes that continued to move forward. A lot of these moments had been forgotten for a long time and I find myself re-experiencing some of this time internally as I come to realizations about how it informs who I am now. A certain attachment and learning came in the form of specifically Wolverine from Marvel comics for instance. It is almost as if I am having conversations as an adult reflecting on my inner child from then and now with Wolverine. I also am revisiting how I connected myself to Wolverine's adventures and pain and good times and battles and loves and loss and intense personal narrative. I am finding how so many of these references from John Buscema and Mark Texiera and Barry Windsor Smith really helped to teach me so much of morals, and ways, and approaches, wrong things, influences and ethics, good and bad habits as well that I embraced and helped me to grow. I find that reformulating these relationships in adulthood helps me to accept, love, cultivate and define my experiences and my narrative from this time period and how it continues to help me evolve today as I have re-embraced it while moving through present life and learning to accept more of who I am day by day.
I plan to continue writing more about this concept of sampling as a mode for deep, personal story telling by reintroducing iconic references in a new way. About how it is truly a tool that can bridge my experience with others and do more to welcome viewers and patrons into the work I create as they find their own story and also wonder how our stories are similar and unified as well as contrasting and individual. I feel like I have found a powerful tool to speak with in turn with my abstract painting and wood work and loose contour drawing and more. The root of much of my childhood growth and positive relationships with art (comic and abstract) are today more and more becoming the tools I use to truly explore and visualize my experience of those things unseen and intangible. I am happy to be doing what I am doing.