Many years ago I was a film student. Silly as it now seems, what I wanted was to make horror films. Growing up I loved the horror films of the '30s and '40s made by Universal Studios and as a young filmmaker I wanted to capture and build on their visual style and knack for running imaginatively amuck. Aspects of those movies inevitably found their way into my images, particularly the way they characterize nature as wondrous and perilous, with the emphasis on peril. In nature, the prettiest things can smell nice, feel silky, but still be deadly. Some of my pictures, I admit, are pretty. But that doesn’t mean they’re benign. They should cause you to ask, “If that shape in the painting were real, would I touch it?”
Happenstance is always the boss. The universe isn’t hostile toward us. It’s indifferent, which is even more unsettling. Its randomness is bigger than anyone’s reason. For me, that’s the most frightening thing: to not be able to reason with something, to avoid the world’s dangers despite knowledge, experience, eloquence, logic. However, in art, if your reason has been disarmed, you have the chance to encounter qualities that might cause you some unease, but which also might reward you in some way—hopefully, with a genuine sense of wonder. I want to disarm the viewer’s reason and reward them with wonder.