The Xenoliths

After a second flood, thousands spent in repairs and reflooring, and finally getting my artist’s studio back and running – a sort of second Renaissance began to germinate. New techniques, new mediums, whole new ways to understand and interpret art flourished. A morning spent with a glass cup of Earl Grey and an easel became the morning routine.

And then my ass got flooded a third time in a year. A third!

And as wave after wave of boiling hot water poured behind the drywalls and under the floorso ended the second Renaissance. Now it’s concrete floors, perforated walls, and a ravenous sense of “so what was the point of any of that?”

Before, during, and after the flood I was working on a series of large charcoal drawings emphasizing material and lighting. Despite the dark, twisted forms of the work, they are in no way a reflection of my frustration at my ruin, which gave me pause. I suddenly realized that most of my art is very focused at creating a vision; a project with a clear narrative with you at its center. I rarely (ever?) create art that speaks to what I’m feeling or going through. The Xenolith project is no exception.

I love the shape, design, tone, lighting – everything about this project. But I think I will also use it as a personal marker. Art for art’s sake is good. But maybe I can reach across the aisle a bit more when it comes to personal meaning. It’s a bold, startling idea – but maybe art can be used for personal expression?


  • 2019 . Industrial Age . Chicago
  • 18in by 24in
  • Charcoal on Newsprint