You never know when inspiration is going to hit you. You can't really force it. It just has to happen and the rest is up to us to do something with it. I like to think of myself as an artist first, a commercial artist second. However, in order to eat and clothe myself, I've found commercial work much more monetarily satisfying.
In 1974, a book was published called "The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California". This became the basis of inspiration for a series of work I produced during college. I knew there was some irony and detachment in what I had been photographing. Bland subjects like doorways, industrial buildings and suburban landscapes were my center of attention and I would elicit strange responses when I told people I was going off to photograph an industrial park. It wasn't until the work of Lewis Baltz was recommended to me that it really clicked and came together. I suddenly found my inspiration and I knew there was probably at least one other person on the planet who might appreciate my efforts.
In 1975, Lewis Baltz was one of 8 artists selected for an exhibition at the International Museum of Photography called "The New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape." By studying these styles, I began to come up with my own visions. Instead of focusing on the buildings within the landscapes, the buildings themselves became the landscape, often focusing on a single wall. Already stark and cold subject matter to begin with, these industrial buildings became the perfect palette for me to distill a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional one.
Working with my Sinar 4x5 camera, every image was highly intentional. As anyone who's worked with large-format knows, there's nothing spontaneous about it. Each exposure is highly planned and produced. Every image became more about the lines of the building and more minimal as I progressed. The images I made during that time are some of the favorites I've ever produced. Who knew you could make cool art in an industrial park on a Sunday morning? Thanks, Lewis. I'm getting inspired again...