Alan Skees was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his BFA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he studied traditional and alternative forms of printmaking, digital arts, design, and a little sculpture and ceramics thrown in just for fun. He received his MFA degree in 2007 from the University of Arizona. While there, he studied more alternative forms of printmaking, non-toxic printmaking, book arts, installation art, and other forms of digital image making. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Digital Arts, New Media, and Printmaking at Christopher Newport University. He lives and makes art in Hampton, Virginia with his wife Kristin Skees, and they show their work nationally and internationally.
Here is my artist statement for the series:
“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”
- John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
One Summer my wife, my 9 month old daughter, and my inlaws set out for a cross country road trip. We drove from Coastal Virginia out to Montana, through Yellowstone, though endless plains and farmland, through mountain ranges, through the Badlands of the Dakotas, and into the forests of Canada and back. Seeing the land change, twist, and contort as we traveled was incredible. The active volcanic terrain of Yellowstone and wild living rock formations changing before my eyes left me with a sense of awe of the forces of nature and time. Along the way we also explored museums displaying active dig sites and exotic mineral and fossil formations. It is all of those experiences that influences these digital works.
In this series, I use bits of stone, minerals as well as fossils and shells we collected along our journey to compose the images. Micro lenses, motors, and video cameras were used to capture image data that was then filtered through slit scanning scripts in PROCESSING (a programming language). The scripts create these images with digitized textures and surface movement that are reminiscent of the shearing tectonic forces I saw in the rocks and land out in nature.
Consider this series as my sublime, digital meditation on the forces that created and continue to change our beautiful planet.