Suburbia does an excellent job in producing dreamers. Growing up being filled with longing for something better, allowing the imagination to envision what’s too far to see. It’s a place where disappoint is around the corner but hope keep pushing forward. The youthful figures in my paintings are perhaps going on their own journey to find something better or simply find their place within the expanse. The next discovery could be down the road or just over the hill.
The paintings depict fictional and still moments in time. Constructing an imagined world where the familiar is disrupted and a new light is shed on the ordinary. The uncanny imagery speaks to the strangeness of everyday life. In order to capture moments that have never actually happened, I use a process of collaging various photographic references. Rendering the paintings in a realistic way brings immediacy, but further inspection sparks curiosity because they feel inherently false.
Typically the paintings are from a youthful perspective. I’m interested in adolescence because it’s a time filled with curiosity, desire, meaningful failures and an endless sense of time. Young people are seeking a form of social order, testing limitations, and discovering how to relate to other people. In the paintings I attempt to find meaning within the physical distances of objects. Investigating how people engage with others and environments in non-social ways.
My work typically begins with the intentions of conveying a particular emotion, and then trying to discover what visual and narrative cues could be used to communicate that emotion. I’ve been focusing on the visualization of an archetypal longing. Expressing the feeling of desire for something that is perhaps close enough to touch but remains unattainable.
I’m interested in non-linear narratives such as in Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”, where the past and present blur together. I have a fascination with the concept of involuntary memory, where encounters in everyday life evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort. I question the reliability of my memory, it seems like over time memories get somewhat distorted and start to become more about personal perception and less about reality. In the case of nostalgia memories are often mythologized and only recall a chosen aspect of the past. By isolating and dislocating objects such as cars, houses, and figures, the paintings attempt to recall the hazy state of memories in which certain details fall into place while others fade away into the unconscious.
The images I paint oscillate between the observed and the imagined. Exploring those rare moments in life where time seems blurry and endless, as if you are walking through life going in and out of a daydream. I would like to create a feeling as if you are suddenly find yourself in a world that is totally unfamiliar, like when you are traveling and wake up the next morning not really knowing where you are.
George Billis Gallery
, Los Angeles, CA - January 2011