For the last decade, my work has drawn inspiration from a multitude of quirky characters and funky forms produced in plastic toys. Most of the toys I have chosen to paint are products of childrens fast food meals, salvaged from thrift stores. I found the toys culturally loaded, emotionally edgy and uncomfortable in their plastic material. As I observed them for hours, day after day, in my practice of painting, they would move: either by settling into the inevitable gravity that would pull the toy pile down or jiggling in the corner of my eyes peripheral vision as I turned away to find a color on my palette. I concluded that I wasnt painting still lifes, I was painting unstill lifes. The paintings I created from these discarded playthings often fell into two opposite categories: one being critical of our consumer society, the other being complicit to it. In the former category, I painted densely packed piles of toys that spoke to me of mass consumerism, chaos and cultural vertigo. In the later, I handled them as if they were forgotten treasure. I set apart special toys and with the eye of a child, focused on them as endearingly as he or she would a favorite plaything, animating them through paint. With my portraits of puppets and other singularly depicted toys, I tried to reclaim a sense of preciousness within these mass-produced objects. I wanted to breathe life into them. Just as a childs projection into a beloved toy blurs reality and pretend, so also moves the creative act in an artists studio. The painter Philip Guston once wrote; In Rembrandt the plane of art is removed. It is not a painting, but a real person a substitute, a golem. With my tondos like Portrait of Olive Oyl as a Rembrandt, this quote was foremost in my mind. Puppets posed for their portraits in my studio and as they sat for me, I lovingly molded an image that represented them somewhere in between reality and unreality, static and animation, flatness and volume. Like the story of Pinocchio, the still life object and the painted picture plane endeavored to be real under my eye and hand. Looking like large puppet heads, it was anima, the root of animation, that led me to the making of the big heads, (or capgrossos, as they are called in Catalonia.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being. But to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the mask, the ego, the big head. A series of multi-ethnic big head self-portraits titled Everyman allowed me the opportunity to explore the outer shell of our worlds personas, noting that if it were possible to wear each others skin, (or big head), the eyes of our souls would still be peering out from within.