When I was younger I made a trip to hear a great Appalachian storyteller, a tradition that was very important in mountain culture. This storyteller was from a isolated mountain road and had not been exposed to technology and not often to crowds of other people. He sat down in front of those microphones, lights and other gadgets and really seemed as stiff as a board. Once the stories began to come forth it was like the man became the mountains from which those stories originated and the places where they transpired.
In painting my goal is to conjure the stories from my own experiences as a native of rural Southeast Kentucky. I grew up hearing stories about Strangeness all over the Hills and Hollers around me, tales of Haint's, wild critters, folk magic and more. . The big, dark woodlands of Kentucky can seem ominous and strange and stories were often told to keep children out of the woods. Those same stories create the allure that draws us into them just like our desire to shine a light at the bump in the night. That unseen mystery and the desire to believe in the things we cannot see have inspired much of the work I am doing now. I am trying to walk with a lantern and illuminate the farthest reaches of those dark hollers, like the one I grew up in. I hope that my work will become a revelation to someone who has yet to experience mountain culture and something endearing to those who are familiar with it.