This piece was created using Gamblin Artist Oils on stretched, grade A, 10 oz
cotton duck canvas that was triple primed with a professional archival gesso. I stretch
my own canvas using the technique I shared previously Here , using kiln-dried, gallery style stretcher bars (1.5” profile) made in
Canada from renewable resources.
For this work, I applied an alla prima technique, also known as wet on wet. With
this method, no underpainting is done before the paint is applied. Ultimately, I finished
the work with a Gamblin Gamvar finish.
Every artwork presents unique obstacles, but this work faced the added barriers
that COVID-19 has created. Finding reference material was challenging because I
couldn’t travel to New York City myself to take the photos this work would be based on.
Yet, limitations breed creativity. Instead, this artwork about connection was itself
borne of connection. I contacted the artist Eugene Belsky for permission to use his
drone videography of NYC as a reference for the piece. The obstacles this work faced
were reminders of what this work celebrates. The way we are all connected through
various means—through art, through cities, through individual relationships—has only
become more clear in the midst of the pandemic. More than ever before, the way in
which our lives intersect and are interdependent upon each other is undeniable and
This work was commissioned by a collector from NYC, a city I’ve featured in
other paintings previously. The view in this work is the financial district looking northeast
toward Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Woodside, Queens. The focal point of this work is the
One World Trade Center to the left and both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge on the
The aerial view in this piece is a recurring perspective I use in my work that
stems from my experience in aviation. I worked as a pilot and was an air traffic control
student during the September 11th terrorist attacks, an event that affected me both
personally and professionally. During this tragedy, the way cities act as the heart of
connection between people, no matter how different they might be—whether of different
cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles—came to the forefront of daily life. No person was
unaffected in some capacity, making the depth of our connection to each other ever
In many ways, New York City is the epitome of what human connection and
cooperation can yield. A city is perfectly representative of the process by which human
civilization is borne; it’s the result of a crossroads of connection where diverse ideas
and opinions intersect to allow for growth and progress to occur.
My experience as a pilot and air traffic controller enables me to see a city like
New York as more than just a destination, but as a hub, both of travel and culture. NYC
is a major location for both national and international travel from all other continents and
a city you can easily eat food from a different culture every night for a month.
When I paint New York City, I feel less as if I’m depicting a location and more as
though I’m unveiling a process—the process by which our civilization comes to be. A
city is made up of many distinct and interdependent parts—from the buildings to the
people—that all play integral roles in the changes and progress that will result. It only
takes a single break in that complex system for the everyday life we take for granted to
When understanding the complexity of our world, taking a step back to see the
bigger picture gives us the perspective to appreciate what we’re often too hyper-focused
on our own daily lives to see. Experience in aviation can give you the kind of instant
perspective shift that rarely comes easily on the ground. Seeing a city from an aerial
perspective not only reminds us how small our own lives are when faced with a city
housing millions of other lives, but reminds us to reflect on the bigger parts of life we
most easily miss.