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Digital_Cintiq 16_PhotoShop_Hard Pencil
Hardcopy size: about 22" x 30"

I built "Foam" out of "Form," but "Form" is an independent work of art in its own right. I think it's significant because of how it links my childhood creative experience/memory to my creative ideas now. This drawing is not merely an act of memory, in the sense of remembering or recalling an experience accurately. I think it's an act of ideation. I think memory is illusive and inaccurate. Each time I recall a specific memory, I think I modify it a bit without realizing it. I've seen friends and family do this, so I figure I probably do the same thing. We adjust memories to suit the moment. We readjust repeated memories to make sense of the feelings and emotions they evoke. This activity seems less about remembering something accurately and more about understanding that something, figuring out its underlying meaning.

I remember an early childhood art experience that took place sometime in kindergarten or first or second grade. The teacher instructed the class to color with bright, fluorescent magic markers a piece of paper until no white showed through. She then had us cover with black Crayola crayon this colorful layer until no color showed through. Last, she had us scratch away the black to reveal bright colors. Unfortunately the teacher cared more about the project itself than what the project could do to teach us anything about drawing and perceiving. But, I'm pretty sure I drew something representational, striving for some naturalism. I knew I was a good drawer and desired more out of this project than my classmates. I remember clearly that I was interested in plastic form at a very early age.

Fast forward to the present! I decided to take advantage of digital media's ease of recreating this framework: my background layer consisted of fluorescent marks that varied in length and character, which I then locked. I created a new layer and covered it with solid black but did not lock this layer. I used the eraser brush as a scratch-out drawing tool and scratched away the black to reveal colored lines. I then went back into my drawing with a black brush/pencil and finessed the drawing with black lines. As a child I could not do this last bit because I didn't want to disobey my teacher. I can't remember if she would have cared if drew into it with black. Well, at least I fulfilled this desire 50 years later!

I've always loved how black lines and swathes of black that surround colors enhance the brightness and saturation of those colors, much like the lead separations and tracery brighten the colors of a stained-glass window. "Form" made me see how wonderfully psychedelic, mind-expanding and beautiful this clash and interplay of saturated color and darkness could be.