What it Costs
I am drawn to water guns because of the intensity of their colors and how their translucency transforms under light to create depth and colorful shadows. As my skills have evolved so has my reason for choosing to continue with this subject matter. The paintings are no longer about pure aesthetic beauty and nostalgia. My most recent body of work juxtaposes these nostalgic children’s toys with assault rifles—a striking contrast that demands attention. I’ve painted the water guns in larger-than-life proportions and meticulous detail to contrast to their bright, playful colors with the dark, hard and cold nature of the assault rifles. This side by side portrayal is meant to highlight the startling similarities present in toys and weapons, not just by their physical appearances but by their availability in our market—both are mass produced and readily available. The sculpture installation of shipping boxes further alludes to the notion of mass production, distribution, and availability.
The two assault rifles I have painted were not chosen at random. The Smith and Wesson M&P 15 was used at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado to injure over 70 and take the lives of 12. The SIG Sauer MCX was used to hatefully take the lives of 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016. Their use in this project is meant to be confrontational because of their significance in the dialogue of gun violence and gun control in America. This series of works seeks to continue a conversation that has already been started by many and begin the conversation being avoided by others.