I’ve always had a fascination with grocery stores. After college, I worked as a stock boy in a Winn Dixie in Florida. I liked looking down the aisles at all of the colors and repetitious patterns. Everything fit perfectly in its packaging and the packages sat perfectly on the shelves until humans came along and disrupted this almost perfect state. It was incredibly frustrating as a stock boy, but visually compelling as a painter.
This was the backstory to Walmart and the Branded Life series. I was inspired by Edward Hopper who came back from Europe to paint America in the early 1900s. He felt that American life was in the midst of a massive transition and he wanted to capture that through his work. This is how I felt when I moved to the American countryside in 1999. I had spent most of the 90’s in Europe so I missed many of the Clinton years which coincided with Walmart’s greatest expansion. When I started painting girls shopping, I was shocked to find that everything sold in stores was made in China. It was then that I became actively aware that our export was the idea of America; the California blond shopping in flip flops. This is why I started painting Walmarts.