Anderson: Artist Statement
My work is about simplifying what I see, translating nature into stylized, imagined “junglescapes” and broad vistas that border on the surreal. Early on I was influenced by N.C. Wyeth book illustrations and etchings by Albrecht Dürer, by how detailed lines can suggest shape and mass. To me, rendering with a fine ink pen or brush can be an intimate and meditative experience for both artist and viewer.
Many of my oils and hand-colored drawings are inspired by my travels and lifelong experience with the natural world. Growing up in Hawaii, I lived up the street from a rainforest, and since then have been obsessed with the jungle and the connections between animals and their environments. The creatures in my work—from spider monkeys and rhinos, to wild boars and zebras—are often in settings they would never share, peaceable kingdom fantasies where I have ultimate control. I often sketch directly from observing animals as they move through their habitats in Central America, India, and Africa. Like my drawings, my paintings of minimal landscapes, mountains, and open spaces explore repeated marks, where lightplay, layering, and detailed passages draw the eye close.
Drawing is at the root of my art, and has been ever since I sketched with a No. 2 pencil as a child. Back then I was influenced by N.C. Wyeth’s book illustrations and etchings by Albrecht Dürer. Mistaking Dürer’s prints for drawings, I attempted to copy the style with a pencil, later moving to pen and ink and then to a Rapidograph pen, a mechanical pen used by architects and engineers. Inspired by Dürer’s use of fine line, my work took on a level of focus and detail that continues to this day, a precision that is not just a means of artistic expression but a form of meditation. Borne of fantasy and a fascination for rainforests, my drawings range from travel sketchbooks that serve as trip journals to large-scale works that have taken over three years to complete.
For my entire life I have been a traveler, hiker, and amateur naturalist, always taking a pad of paper with me. In 2006, I hiked 350 miles of the Appalachian Trail carrying four pounds of pads, pencils, and magic markers with me. My drawing portfolio contains work done while camping in Morocco, hiking in Costa Rica, working in Nigeria, traveling from Paris to India by car, bus, and train, and crisscrossing Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.
As an architect I also am interested in a contemporary, abstract approach to place, space, and repeated forms. Drawing links my art and architecture, as does my interest in the intersection between our natural and built environments.
Overall, whether it is my architectural projects, book publications, large-scale drawings and paintings, or personal sketchbooks, I am always in a state of exploration, where the act of painting and putting line to paper is a meditation for me on my profound spiritual connection and common origin with the nature all around me.