What inspired you to become a photographer?
When I was in Jr. High School, I lived in Southern California; and of course it's amazingly picturesque. I was walking through the shopping mall one day and saw a store filled with paintings and photography, and I got inspired. So, I decided to enroll in a photography class at my school.
So, how did things go in the photography class?
It was actually a lot harder than I thought, but I persevered. I learned to develop black and white photography in their lab, and that was pretty exciting. Something about that class really inspired me, and I've been shooting photos ever since.
How did you come up with the idea of doing "digital painting" with your photographs?
I really like taking photos, and I've taken thousands of them. Some of them, though, seemed like they "deserved" to be a painting. I enjoy painting, but it's a very laborious and time-consuming process; so I wanted to find a faster and more efficient way to converting my photos to watercolor-like landscapes.
I first experimented with digital processing about 15 years ago, but the technology just wasn't there yet (for what I wanted to do at least). In 2022, I gave it another try; and I was dazzled by the results. With today's technology, I can "paint" my photographs and make as many mistakes as I want. I can just press a button and start all over again if I don't like the way it looks. With painting, you can't do that.
Where do you inspirations come from?
A lot of painters and photographers have really inspired me over the years, but the ones that really come to mind are Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. My work is a sort of hybrid, digital version of those two artists.
Many people don't know that both Rockwell and Warhol often started with photography first. Rockwell would have casting calls for his characters as if he were making a movie. After he had all of his players, he would begin photography and posing them the way he envisioned.
After his photos were complete, he would then paint the scene he had photographed. His process was so elaborate, that some of his pieces took about a year to complete. That's a lot of work, and we can move much faster now because of technology.
Warhol made his pop art starting with famous photographs and would then "layer" his work with silkscreens. It took a lot of time and studio space (and of course it was quite messy, too). Again, because of technology, I can process my photographs and digitally paint them in much less time.