About 15 years ago, at the end of a watercolor class at the Cooper Union, our professor asked where we wanted to go with our work from there. I said I wanted to paint figures, but wanted them to be big and maybe aggressive people. I wanted to bend the typical use of watercolor and use the medium to paint something unexpected. Almost every model I had drawn or painted in studios or classes was ideally shaped or extremely thin. I sought a different depiction of the human form. I searched the internet and discovered Sumo wrestlers. They’re big, many are even huge and they wear only a Mawashi. I loved their massive bodies with their strength and force. I saw them as an amalgam of beauty and ferocity. However, the more I looked at their photos I was surprised by how sensual the pairs seemed…so smooth…so skin on skin...boldly naked and strong. I realized that if you didn't know they were fighters, you might think they were lovers. Over time, they became stand-ins for my psyche, expressing my sensuality and sexuality. In my paintings, I push that ambiguity and intentionally blur the line as to whether they are combatants or lovers.