It’s the archaic ideas about what a painter does that strike me as most charged with possibility, as most volatile and likely to produce something new and unexpected. My work is inspired by the diverse practices that have comprised the painter’s vocation over the centuries—the painter as chemist, as mirror-maker, optical engineer, and creator of skins. Inhabiting these roles allows me to reimagine what painting can be. Thus, my painting practice has annexed nanoparticle synthesis, mirror-making, growing artificial skin from microorganisms, and collecting scores of dead sea creatures from which I prepare blue pigment. For the last six years, I’ve synthesized nanoparticles in order to create paintings that mimic the skins of structurally colored animals. My next project considers Xerces blue, the first Northern American butterfly to go extinct due to urban development—and the first to be considered for “de-extinction.” By exploring parallel anxieties elicited by biologically engineered specimens and highly mimetic 17th-century paintings, my new paintings will invite viewers to consider “life-like” paintings as conceptual precursors to bio-engineering. In this respect, this new work will further my broader project of digging deeply into painting’s past in order to tease out its future.