Airbag Series

Previously deployed side and steering column airbags. This series is still in progress.

Painting, sculpture

2020 - Present

Untitled, Rectangle (rust). 79.75” x 22.25” Ink, Pigment Stick, Acrylic on Heat-treated Nylon 6,6

Untitled, Round (blue). Shown deflated and partially inflated. 25.5” Ink, Charcoal, Pigment Stick on Nylon 6,6

Untitled, Rectangle (blue). 24” x 68.5” Ink, Pigment Stick, Acrylic on Heat-treated Nylon 6,6

Untitled, Round (green and pink). Shown deflated and partially inflated. 25.5” Ink, Charcoal, Pigment Stick on Nylon 6,6


Working title: Process and Sentimentality

The beauty of sentimentality is that it exists and is protected in the mind; it lives for as long as we decide. If we are lucky, this sentimentality is shared with others and brings additional peace, contemplation, stability and value into our lives. Objects that exist in our spaces are a conduit for this sentimentality. As we experience the entrance and exit of some of these objects, we project our value system onto them and decide which ones are worth keeping and memorializing, and which simply serve us momentarily. An airbag is one such object that can carry this sentimentality because of the story behind its deployment. We only see an airbag in a moment in response to distress.

I'm interested in exploring the limitlessness of painting. This series investigates painting as a pliable canvas with its appearance fluctuating as it is inflated and deflated. My instinct is to incorporate objects that hold story (and the story itself) into the work. For this series, I decided to challenge that inclination by exploring what would be available if I discarded the intangible sentimentality and instead preserved the tactile story and value(s) of the materials and focus on process. I followed the preexisting forms on the object and made decisions around building up those areas with pigment or letting them be settled into the overall composition. I kept in mind the philosophy of Sumi-e, the rules of light logic and painting’s value system but was not interested in perfection or accuracy. I let most of the experience be guided by what already physically existed.

The colors in each piece reflect my tendency to use pigments that feel naturally occurring; but the unfamiliar material of the airbag determined most of my course. Depending on the reaction of the surface material, I needed to adjust how much ink, acrylic or charcoal I applied. I also considered the experience of these objects in different spaces and with different light — which would vary when deflated vs. inflated, laid on the floor vs. mounted on a wall. I wanted there to be enough material on the surface to give these objects greater viewing possibilities and hopefully expand the capabilities of painting to the viewer.

Although I consider these first four paintings complete at this time, the series is in progress. I will be continuing this analysis of material with the remaining airbags that I have.