I was born into an artistic family in Arleta, California, in 1959. The first thing I remember is that everyone around me made art. My mother painted and my brothers drew. From an early age, my focus on art was clear and consistent. I wasn’t content to settle on a single artistic medium. So I tried them all – developing many forms of expressing art by always making something, continually learning and changing. It was as if I knew, even at a young age, “There are no half measures, and you never quit.”
In the late 1970s, I decided to become a full time artist. I committed myself to a lifetime of making art, and during the lean early years I would sometimes give away art for a meal. For several years, I worked under Hal Reed, who learned his techniques by studying under Nicolai Fechien, and by working at Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles.
I became Hal Reed’s assistant for five years at the Art League of Los Angeles while perfecting my skill of color theory, composition, and anatomy. I later taught at the Art League and at several elementary schools in the L.A. area.
In 1983, I got rid of all my possessions and went to Paris to study art. I sold my artwork or exchanged it for food. I painted, studied, and traveled as much as I could while working part-time. I lived in France for three years before returning to the United States.
When I returned to California, I was introduced to John Kerr, who was a photographer and art collector. He also owned a large piece of rundown property previously owned by Cecil B. DeMille. John Kerr was impressed by my artistic creations, and gave me a place to stay on his property in exchange for pieces of art. I worked one day a week fixing up the property, and spent the rest of my time studying or creating artwork.
My time at John Kerr’s lasted for six years, and I was able to intensely focus on my art seven days a week. I learned to be by myself. For my work and the rest of my life, this was a pivotal time period in terms of developing my own personal style. I began copying as many artists as I could, which I call “deliberate practice.” I copied to learn, copying what I liked, and continued with this process until more and more of myself came out in my work
During these years I began to develop my style, and I read everything I could get my hands on. My direction as an artist was becoming solidified. I knew that I was willing to pay whatever price it took to continue in art. I made a conscious decision to embrace art and let the creative experience take me where it may lead. I had no car, no house, few personal belongings, and no wife or kids. My circle of friends evolved into many new friends who were involved in some type of art medium.
By the time I left California I was averaging three art shows a month, often solo shows.
I sold over 250 paintings, and had created large commissioned sculptures in several communities that are archived at the Smithsonian Institute and the Getty Museum. I’d created a reputation for winning awards wherever my artwork was shown, and my paintings filled the walls of celebrities’ homes.
I did eventually marry, and had a daughter with my wife Katherine. My wife was on her way to becoming a medical doctor when we met. This meant she spent long hours working during her residency in Buffalo and Detroit. While my daughter was a child, I chose to keep paint and chemicals away from her. My paintings were put on hold, and I make drawings and sculptures.
I currently live in Sammamish, Washington with my family. You’ll find me in my studio most days, working on one of my newest creations, or making changes to an existing artwork that just isn’t quite finished. Beyond the continuous process of making my own art, I enjoy teaching, mentoring, and sharing all that I’ve learned over the years. The students I teach range in age from seven-years-old to adulthood. My art reflects my learning process, continued growth, and knowing I have the ability to change.