First exposure to the arts
I can’t remember, I’ve been doing this my whole life. I painted better than other people, I didn’t grow up in a creative family. I just excelled over people painting around me. It was my favorite outlet.

Then after college I just started pushing the boundaries. I started playing with new mediums, moving out of traditional oil paintings… I wanted a something different and dimensional I used encaustic wax. This wax is the most primitive form of painting.
What music are you listening to
Right now? Well it’s usually rap, but right now I’m listening to WiIlie Nelson.

What inspires you
I love old stuff. I’m totally inspired by old stuff. Old family albums, everything. My series Vice & Virtue, there’s a whole story underneath each one of those using vintage erotica. They just take me back in time. I’ve been drawn to this era my entire life.

My friend had this collection of old mugshots that turned into a 2 year spread of working with these mugshots. There was one guy, William Murphy, I investigated his entire life. He got arrested for pimping. I couldn’t understand why I was so haunted by his image. He knows my soul. It led to me studying the psychology of photography. It’s a moment that can never be. It’s essentially death. I started painting him, I read over 4000 pages of reading about this guy.

Favorite artists
My number one is Picasso. My work is all over the place, his work was a little all over the place, you know with ceramics and by the people who came into his life. He’s the greatest painter of all them. I also love Francis bacon and Maya Hayuck.

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Check out more photos from our studio visit with Penn


Photo // Hanna Hazel