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Ziro's artist profile
I am currently living and working in Baltimore as well as New York.
Originally trained as a classical musician and composer, I have been active in the visual arts since childhood, although admittedly self-taught. I grew up in an extended family of artists, musicians, and creative writers, and so I always had a unified view toward the arts as a whole.
During my years at Indiana University's School of Music, both as as student and later as a faculty member, I found myself engaging in various extracurricular experiments that combined various art forms. Although I never abandoned my traditional classical heritage, I found the the possibilities of contemporary art forms very appealing. And although I frequently return to the music of Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky and the rest, I made a conscious shift to explore more contemporary idioms.
Unlike my formal classical training (which I am very indebted to), I found great freedom in other art forms. And since I was largely self taught, I never felt burdened by the rigidity of academia in my art practice, so I just jumped in and started creating work without really knowing what I was doing (technically and historically). It's as if I were that first man, making a mark on the wall of a cave, with a beginners eyes. My aim is to re-invent the wheel, not read about other artist's wheels.
After my stint at Indiana University, I went on to earn an MFA in the Imaging and Digital Arts program at UMBC. While still a student, I worked at the New Media Studio as a Research Assistant, where I was awarded an international Telly Award for a collaborative effort between UMBC, RLTV and the retirement community at Charleston. Several of my short films were televised nationally.
I am somewhat of a generalist working in the fields of digital arts, video, sound as well as music.
I've never seen the need to think of these fields as separate. In fact, I approach the arts in the same way. The techniques may be different, but my subject matter and process are firmly rooted and unwavering. The common denominator being creativity itself.
Most of my influences are outside the field of visual art, Bach, James Joyce, and Richard Foreman to name a few. Since I consider myself an outsider looking in, I sometimes feel that my vision may be clearer, for no system can adequately describe itself. It's been my experience that quite often the outsider has a more objective view than the one entrenched in the agreed upon academic dogmas of the times. The lack of formal training also has its setbacks. I had to hit the ground running, basically teaching myself via trial and error in a digital field that was daunting, to say the least.
Ultimately my work at present revolves around one basic theme, existence. But my type of existentialism always explores the intimate connection between existence and the seemingly disparate elements of "spirituality" and aesthetics.
In addition to the themes mentioned above, my current projects are created with a "built-in" self destruct mechanism (literally and/or metaphorically). The "destruction" of my pieces is closely related to their creation. My work draws upon the idea of Oroborus, that snake that eats it's own tail or the creation/destruction Shiva principle.
There's something in me that wants to destroy what I make. The destruction can be literal or metaphorical, but this remains a key element in all my work at present. This compulsion is tied to my deep interest in Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. Although I would not consider myself a religious person, I am very attracted to the recurring themes in these religions whose teachings seem practical, transparent, and directly relevant to ordinary life. When we deify one object, we ignore and are blind to everything else around it.
And so, my method is to create works that draw the viewer into the composition of the "painting" itself in order that I might destroy that boundary, with an ending emphasis on the "frame" around it. My task as an artist is to make that which was foreground fade into the background, and that which was background to the foreground.
The implicit message is: "Divinity" whatever it is, is found everywhere and in all things. It is primarily the quality of one's awareness that is central to this realization. Any object will do, objects are interchangeable.
I have served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland and AACC (time-based media, film, and animation). In addition to my visual art appointments, I also served as Associate Instructor of Guitar at Indiana University's School of Music. In addition to these roles, I am still very active musician as a performer, composer, and teacher.