samurai series  during college, i listened to a lot of hip hop while i was in the studio, and i was really jealous of the fact that rappers are allowed to use their medium as a means to boast about their skills with that medium. not only are they allowed to do it, it's practically required. some guys even make whole albums about how well they rap. i became obsessed with finding a cool way to mimic this convention through visual art.
one day, a friend of mine suggested that i draw pictures of myself beating up other artists. when he first said it, i thought it was a terrible idea. i pictured realistic drawings of myself punching a guy holding a paint brush in the jaw. but i started to realize it didn't have to be that lame. there was no reason i couldn't wrap that general idea around my own style. so i decided to find drawings of fight scenes that i could work from. after consulting my friends and professors, and scouring the internet, i finally decided to use japanese warrior prints, or musha-e. it was perfect. first of all, i have a general affinity for asian art. secondly, at the time i was focused on printmaking, so i liked the idea of stealing my compositions from other printmakers. finally, and perhaps most importantly, rap producers like the gza had already developed a custom of sampling samurai movies in their songs.
after choosing prints to work from, i start by redrawing the compositions by hand. after that i replace the hero's face with my own, and all the weapons with art tools. (insert less abrupt ending here.)
robots series  when i was six years old, one of my friends came outside during recess and announced that there was about to be a robot drawing competition inside. i wanted to go, but at six years old i did not draw well at all. seriously, even by six year old standards. i mean my parents still put my stuff on the fridge, but you could tell they resented it. at about ten years old, i started painting because i liked watching by bob ross. that's right, bob ross, you wanna fight about it?
throughout high school, i took a lot of art classes. after nearly failing out of college, i decided the only way i'd ever start going to class was if i declared an art minor, which later became an art major. i started with the intention of focusing on painting, but quickly came to accept the years of advice i'd received in high school that it is impossible to become a great painter without first becoming a great draftsman. so i started taking drawing classes, lots of drawing classes.
after college i took on a volunteer painting project which i found very frustrating due to both the requested subject matter and style. one day while working on the project, i snapped — like green skin, torn pants, "hulk draw!!" kind of snapped — i totally lost it and reverted to my childlike desire to draw monsters and robots, but this time, with the finely honed skills of a man who'd spent ten years trying to beat himself into being able to draw well.
jazz face series  in 2008, when i was getting ready for the beacon hill art walk, i had a dream — don't worry, this won't get as obnoxious as you might suspect from that beginning — so i had a dream that i was looking through one of my sketchbooks, and it was full of amazing, justin bua style drawings of guys playing the saxophone. i woke up feeling really confident about my art, which was awesome, until i realized that none of those drawings existed. after about half an hour of feeling sorry for myself, i sucked it up and decided that i didn't have much choice but to try and recreate the drawings from my dream. enter reality. saxophones are really hard to draw, so many buttons and levers. it's mostly the levers really, they're tiny and thin and just don't look cool. but i persevered, sort of, and started doing drawings of musicians playing other instuments, really awesome drawings. i mean seriously, have you seen these drawings?