When Rockwell starts working on a painting, drawing, sculpture, etc., the first step is surface activation. This could be anything from splattering ink and spray paint to leaving a canvas in an old barn for three months. These automatic art techniques “break the ice” of dialogue between the artist and his work, starting a psycho visual conversation.
The subject of the piece, incidentally, usually comes as a surprise to Rockwell. When a rich array of visual elements accumulate, converse, and eventually converge on a common ground, the artwork is finished, the conversation over. The duality of delicate forms and percussive blasts in Rockwell’s work are evidence of the freedom, which these conversations have.
The art supplies, themselves, often begin the activation with the marks of their own history. Most of his recent paintings on canvas were cut up and resewn together along with pieces of fabric and wires, imbedding activation deep in the surface and blurring the line between painting and sculpture. Along with his mastery of spray paint stenciling, these new sewing and textile techniques have helped Rockwell raise the bar in mixed-media painting by rendering figures and textures that speak louder than words ever could.