My work speaks to the human condition: how we as humans can interpret an image or life event drastically different from one another depending on a host of influences — being our personal faith or lack-there-of, personal history, our current situation in life, any number of things can and will influence how viewers experience my work.
When images, identifiable forms, and icons in my paintings and constructs are addressed by the viewer they naturally associate what they determine the object to be with their own definition of that object. This results in their own -very personal- reactionary emotion. Whether it is hatred or shock, or passion or compassion, every person will create his or her own truth — now attached to the work.
What I do, ultimately, is take my own experiences and let them fill up “the tank,” so to speak, and then expel them by rebuilding what I find to be the truth of the matter, onto the canvas, or into a construct, drawing, or digital piece. I do this to invoke thought, and to inspire analysis. What inevitably transpires can be anything from reactionary rage to euphoric bliss — it is in the conversation with the viewer.
Some of my work can be perceived to have a spiritual aspect. There are many roads people travel to connect to a spiritual plane, though to some, the paths may be unconventional — they are used to fill a void. The iconography, in some of the works, whether it be Buddha, Jesus, Ganesh, Shiva or an icon of a saint, all signify beliefs while causing a positive or negative reaction, depending on one’s insight or discernment. Conversely, a bullet, riding crop, needles or skulls may have the same exact response which may arouse reactionary emotions. Art is spiritual. It speaks a universal language.
My work encompasses a full range of emotions and what I feel as the work builds upon itself and what input I have from outside sources or personally. As I make the piece and as the flow and levels build, the deeper my emotional psyche and intuition come forth and the deeper I delve into a work. I am in an emotionally-frenzied state, laser beam-focused and in touch. Some artists say they try to detach themselves from their work, but for me, it is just the opposite. I become totally immersed and invested.
For me, on the deepest level, the importance of the work reaches beyond the perceived meaning and lies in the process. The process is at the core, the heart, and is the basic language of the work. From the raw construction, to painting the initial base layer- one of what could be 20-30 layers or objects by the time the work is finished. Living with the work and adjusting and readjusting it until…it just does not hurt. The process is what regularly inspires me. When I can sit with the piece, I know it’s completed. When it is completed, I start again. The process never ends.
My work can be used as a tool, to examine the truth of one’s self and the truth of one’s surroundings. Whether it is a perceived truth or actual truth, which there may or may not be a great difference between the two, the act of self-analysis through the engagement of viewing my art is always enlightening. My work is created to do just that.
Michael St. Amand