I painted this series in 2003. I was very interested in the idea of storytelling at the time. Imagining a narrative with no specific story to tell. These images were like snapshots of a critical moment in an unknown storyline. This was the first complete series of paintings I completed since I had graduated from SFAI five years prior. In a sense, these were my first stories. Thus… ‘Book One’.
The positioning and posturing came from a book I’ve had for a long time on the history of Aikido. In particular, there was a photograph in which one person was throwing another. The person being thrown was completely upside down, but his body looked so natural, and his facial expression was absolutely blank… as if nothing was wrong.
I wanted a subject that wouldn’t get pulled into any one specific allegory or tale. So I used myself as a representative of the modern world in these scenes steeped in traditional Asian sensibilities. At the time, I rejected the idea that these were self portraits. Although in retrospect, they were all about me. Hands down. It’s pretty simple really. At the time, I had just moved from San Francisco to Hawaii to try and refocus my life on Art. I was trying to find my way again… searching. Pulling on strings trying to reel in something that I couldn’t quite grasp. The water and the boats indicative of a spiritual journey.