From a young age I was told by adults and peers that I could draw, which was the reason I began to ask myself what art actually was. And, even before I was a budding young artist, the art around me had become more celebrity than draftsmanship, which I really didn’t comprehend until I was an undergraduate student. I was always interested in ceramics, and some of my sculpture did find its way into local popular eyes; but, creating murals and larger public works taught me that art, for me, was no longer just a beautiful expression, an ode to draftsmanship and effort, or even shape and lines that somehow signified beauty, talent, and vision. I was confused then, and I'm still confused as to what art ultimately is. But, even way back then, I understood that art had become a possible way to change the landscape conceptually, and maybe even a way to communicate a grander change to our world.
But the world had other ideas in mind, which were driven mostly by my own deep internal struggles implanted by loved ones. I heard it from my parents, from my friends, from everyone, including my high school art teacher (also the football coach), who taught me that I could never earn a living as an artist, and to use the artistic talent and drive that I’d been honing as only a hobby. However, that was not exactly my plan, even though it was the sensible choice. I had already decided to be an artist... In the third grade, after moving to Laguna Beach and being friendless for a time, I decided my future after having received public praise from my teacher for a piece I drew. I was struggling to figure out who I was at the time, I still remember. It was a time that I felt totally alone and cut off from my family and peers, so it makes sense that I would have made such a rash decision at an age of such youthful ignorance; also, I know that I've always been soul-stubborn, some place deep down below.
I excelled in the arts all the way through college, university, and beyond. I traveled the globe, created deep, lifelong friendships, but ... up until this day, I've struggled constantly with being an artist in a world that didn't necessarily reciprocate my internal passion. My life choices speak volumes on this dilemma, having succeeded thus far in helping to pay life's bills. Accordingly, my work has been all over the map, including a period creating functional art and design when I ran my own custom woodworking studio in Colorado. Most surprisingly, however, I see that having engaged in ceramics, woodworking, writing, teaching, and other stability-driven endeavors, I've since been able to develop a more mature platform, and to, surprisingly, develop something else I’ve been struggling with from the very beginning, from way back in the third grade—to find my own voice—yay.
When I was an undergraduate student I built a process piece with over 700 tiny clay televisions. Each TV incorporated screens, knobs, and antennas, mostly found and manipulated from trash picked up in alleys. I glued each individual TV onto a sculpted pig-wire couch, which, after being exhibited, winning a first place award in an undergraduate exhibition at UCSB, as well as being reviewed on the cover of the Arts and Leisure section of the Santa Barbara News Press, ended up being buried under weeds in a field somewhere in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Thinking back on this episode of my life speaks volumes to me about how my work keeps moving, creeping, sliding forever forward into the next incarnation. Each spiral I draw, carve, write, paint, or teach, builds a universe unto itself, eventually disappearing into the over-paint, stain, glaze, or even the idea where it initially began, along with the incarnations to come—I seem perpetually to relegate what's come before, constantly, to memory, only, and I push each brand new moment into the birth of its eventual extinction.
I believe this is where the bones I build come from. It’s like having an ongoing conversation with a thing that resides within my head, within one of my pieces of soul. It’s always there, my up-commence, hiding, possibly implanted by loved ones and teachers, whispering that life could be different, that there could be something more, something tangible and relevant, a path to live by, exactly like what 'they' have all said during this lifetime—Why do we even do it, we ask ourselves, why is it ‘this’ that makes us alive, why?! Then, thankfully, even with a suppressed sense of glee screaming from some mental corner of my reality, we get tired … or hungry … or bored—enabling art and I to believe that we have no other choice and to then just, gratefully, along the bottoms' of our feet, move on to the maneuvers of living.