Hanging at Shift Gallery in Seattle, WA
January 7-30, 2021
Artist Statement
I am and have always been lonely. I have always felt like an alien among humans, more colorful than this beige world can handle. This body of work is an illustrated memoir of my loneliness: how I got this way, what it does to me, and all the painful, frightening, lonely, and exciting moments that happen in the absence of other people.
I have made art all my life. I have always found joy in creating beautiful and interesting things, but it was only a few years ago I discovered what a powerful tool of self-expression art can be. I started writing my feelings first, documenting my mental health in illustrated zines. I then brought writing into my paintings to combine the emotional power of a painted image with the temporal aspects of poetry. I have found the public vulnerability of these pieces to be healing. 
My work feels especially resonant in the time of COVID, as we are all feeling trapped and isolated, staring at the same walls for months on end. Empty rooms are a familiar and loaded sight for many of us now. Much of my work focuses on painting my surroundings, often objects in my own apartment. I am interested in the significance we place on the spaces in which we live and the objects we surround ourselves with, and in the tension of feeling both safe and trapped when living alone in a small space. And especially after six months of lockdown, I am fascinated by how utterly alone one can feel despite living so close to others in a dense urban neighborhood.
My goal with this series is to give voice to my loneliness and related feelings I never felt like I could express. I want to tell my story so that a viewer who feels similarly can see that these emotions can be shown to the world in an empowering way, and that someday the loneliness will get better. 
These paintings are presented as a timeline of the last few years of my life, since I moved to Seattle in 2017. Each piece is an important memory, and presented in the order they happened, they show my evolving relationship to loneliness and solitude over time. 
2562 miles to Seattle, Acrylic on panel, 24x24, 2019
We sat here once, back when I was a different person and he was still here, Acrylic on panel, 24x24, 2019, $750
In memory of Brennan Thale
Self Isolation, Acrylic on panel, 16x16, 2020, NFS
I-405 Northbound, Acrylic on panel, 10x10, 2020, $300
#relatable, Acrylic on panel, 24x24, 2019, $750
It’s Wednesday night.
Everything is silent.
I lay motionless on my bed.
I scroll through posts I feel like I’ve seen before.
I roll over to get comfortable. 
I keep scrolling. 
I close the tab and open the same page again without thinking.
I check my phone.
No new messages.
I look through my texts.
I want to message someone, but I don’t know who.
I don’t know what I would say to them anyway.
I get up to go to the bathroom.
I sit down on the toilet.
Five minutes later, I’m still sitting there on my phone, scrolling through posts I’ve seen before.
Everything is silent.
A Mania in 4 Acts, Acrylic on panel, four 12x12 panels, 2019, $700
A Mania in 4 Acts
(Each painting is one act, clockwise from top left)
Act 1. Transcendence
I hunch close to the painting.
My hand shakes a little as I place magenta light onto the side of a building.
This image and I are magnificent.
With just a few colors, I am bringing a universe into existence.
Taking a perfect moment out of my memory and freezing it in pigment.
Writing myself onto panel to be preserved forever.
I am taking a blank, dark void and casting light into it.
I create form and volume in two dimensions.
I am playing God in a way only I can.
I am a vessel, letting the creative spark speak through me.
This may be the best painting I’ll ever make.
Act 2. Consumption
I tear myself away from painting to throw two frozen burritos into the microwave.
I’ve eaten nothing else for dinner for about three weeks.
I just don’t have the time or energy for anything more.
I have become consumed by this project.
Even feeding myself has become a Herculean task.
I know keeping my body alive is important.
I wish I didn’t have to bother.
I take the burritos out of the microwave and throw them into the toaster oven.
It’s an important step in making them tolerable.
I stand there and wait by the ticking toaster.
I stare at my painting and try not to think smell the toasting burritos.
I want my brain to let me eat something else, anything else.
But I’ve been trapped by Mexican food and anxiety in this foul-smelling loop.
I pull the burritos out of the toaster oven and go back to painting.
I munch on them slowly as I work my way across the sky.
I notice a small fingerprint of lavender paint on one.
I shrug and eat it anyway.
The filling is somehow still cold.

Act 3. Obliteration
It’s 9am on a sunny Saturday morning.
I slept 6 hours last night.
I take a quick shower and run downstairs to the corner coffee shop.
I order a large latte, a blueberry muffin, and a cream cheese brownie.
I head back upstairs to my studio apartment.
I inhale the baked goods and some THC.
As the coffee and cannabis claw their way into my cranium, I sit and stare at this damn painting.
It has to be done by Monday.
It’s not nearly as finished as I would like.
I pick up the container of vibrant green and dip a brush into it.
My hand pulls a swirl of emerald down the panel, birthing a pine tree.
It dips into the paint again and brings another tree into existence.
I don’t think I’m telling it what to do anymore.
I’m just a passive observer.
I sink away and let my hand keep working.
It keeps dipping and painting rhythmically.
It works its way across the image, following some mysterious arcane design.
It seems to know what it’s doing.
It’s getting closer.
It’s almost done.

Act 4. Resurgence
It happens once again.
That tensed-up feeling.
The aching, driving sensation that I have forgotten something.
That something I can’t quite recall is looming and I have to take care of it.
That there’s something I have to do, have to make, have to sort out before I can rest.
I already finished the painting.
The varnish is curing and I’m handing it off tomorrow.
It’s done.
I check my to-do list again for something else, anything else to throw myself into.
I’m just left with that yearning, gnawing hunger to create.
It pushes me through these huge projects.
It won’t let me relax when they are over.
It relentlessly whispers to me that it needs more.
It won’t let me concentrate.
I can’t do anything.
All I can manage is to curl up into a ball and browse the internet.
Turning my brain off as much as possible until I can fall asleep.
This too shall pass.
This too shall pass.
This too shall pass.
Please let it pass.
Seven Stories Up III, Acrylic on panel, 36x36, 2019, $1500
The View From Quarantine I & II, Acrylic on Panel, 16x32, 2020
Lethe, Acrylic on Canvas, 24x48, 2020, $1200
This exhibition is at Shift Gallery from January 7-30, 2021. The gallery is open by appointment only.
Email me at scott@sdcmadethis.com to schedule a showing, or to inquire about any of the available pieces!
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