My name is Al. It is the definition of my individuality, my personhood, my life experiences, and my willingness to pursue the “weird” regardless of treatment I may receive from my peers. I have embraced my name as a means of rebellion against the people and the institution that has created an environment of fear and anxiety for its students. It has mistreated, abused, and overlooked me. Despite what I’ve dealt with, I have remained whole. So I will continue to say, “My name is Al.”
My art is also Al. Al art can only be made by Al; I don’t mean that in a pretentious sort of way, but no one else will ever have the same experiences and the same family that I have. To be Al in an artistic sense is to seek the spaces in between humor and obscurity because “Al-ness” wants to find a place of laughter. It is to investigate the two dimensional spaces where drawing can become sculpture and vice-versa. To find Al is to find where barriers between disciplines break down into a collage of thought, material, and sometimes Godzilla, and accept it into one’s arms with love. I’m sure that “Al” sounds like a cult, but don’t worry, I’m the only one there.
Throughout the process of creation I have limited myself to the use of simple, inexpensive, and easily accessible materials because good art doesn’t have to be expensive to make. I don’t see the point in using expensive stuff. I utilized fabric scraps, cotton fiberfill, wax, soap, wire, old books, and acrylic paint, primarily, to create my pieces. I suppose this extends Al to utility also.
My exhibition space is designed to be the ideal place for me, Al, to live. It’s for somebody who is a kid at heart. I’ve furnished it with stuffed animal friends, like Mildred and Irving. I’ve decorated it with paintings of things I like, like trapeze artists at the circus and Godzilla. It even has Satchmo with a Sasquatch in close proximity. My exhibition, my place, has no room for loneliness, frustration, or useless white space. Al’s space is a space where creativity runs unrestrained. In creating my pieces, I was greatly inspired by Peter Max, Alfred Hitchcock, Jim Henson, Henry Darger, Universal Monsters, and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
Never forget my name is Al.
Earthican, dimensions variable, mixed media installation, 2021