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Thanks to all who have visited and have had the perseverance to read through this wordy and crazy bio that really says nothing and everything at the same time. I do it with mirrors.
I have been re photographing some of my art. I am getting a better image and hopefully this will generate some poster or card sales. I have also added a new photo gallery. This is a mixture of my work and my Fathers photo work. In the near future I will be adding a special gallery for some of his art work.
I am a self taught artist and have been consistently drawing for over 50 years. My father was an artist and worked in oil and watercolor and ran the manual arts program at the VA Hospital in Lexington, KY. He taught me the basics of drawing and then turned me loose to find my own way through this maze of creativity. The self taught artists approach visual representation from a different perspective than the traditional artists that studied under instructors and had the history of art taught to them. Please don't think I am marginalizing the value of a sound education, I admire and respect these artists; it took time and dedication as well as hard work to reach their degree and the bottom line is however we reach our goals, the results are what matter. I was never what you would call an outstanding student from grade 1 through 12. I had a 'C' average and I can truthfully admit I did not apply myself as much as I should have. My parents tried to discourage me from doing art and wanted me to go into a more traditional means of supporting myself. I was constantly told that doing art was just a hobby and not a reliable way of making money.
My first piece of published work was when I was seven and did the program for the local football team. Looking back, I felt the effort was crude, but objectively speaking it worked well for my age and total lack of world experience and everyone was pleased with it. I continued drawing in pencil and pen and ink. I still have some of those first pieces and from time to time I look back on them to help retrace my journey from then to now. From the late 50's through the 60's and into the early 70's the face of America was changing and so was the form and style of the art produced. Music influences such as Yes, Moody Blues, Donavon, Janis Joplin, Hendrix and many others; visual influences of films and of the printed word, mixed with the 'free love' and a rebellion against traditional mores shocked me senseless and at the same time peeked my interest in the new and exciting images. So, from the shy young man I was, I swallowed down my fears and threw myself into this madness with the passion of a first love. I not only kicked down the closet door, I burned it, vowing never to go back there. The Pop culture from fashion design to bold colors, I was hooked.
My first love of a fellow artist was Escher. His drawing intrigued me. I had always been a traditional artist, barns, houses, trees and such and had not opened myself to all possibilities yet. Escher helped open my creative vision and the artists from album covers, sci-fi and fantasy novels fueled my drive to reach a higher goal for myself. I had the good fortune to have been associated with a group of like minded people, some of whom where art majors, rock band members, sculptors and a variety of craftsmen. Their support, friendship and influence was the keystone in opening my perceptions and worldly views. During this time I also read a great deal of Science Fiction books, explored different music and films, and generally traveled. Many of these people are passed now, but the memories and experiences still have influence on me.
As I had stated, I had to work if I wanted to survive. My parents did they best they could financially but if my sister and I wanted anything extra, we had to get a job and pay for it ourselves. I started working when I was 10 delivering newspapers, then summers I mowed yards. At the ripe old age of 14, I went to work at the local drug store, behind the soda fountain. I worked there after school until I graduated high school in 1966. I then went to work for Rand McNally as a cartographic technician. This was a job where I could use my eye/hand coordination to my advantage. I hand engraved roads, learned the print process, learned about copy cameras, offset printing and binding of the printed material. This lead me through several jobs with printing companies and in the late 70's I started working as a contractor making maps for the USGS. I eventually ended in Washington DC, where I worked for the USGS in Reston, VA.
I spent 10 years in the DC area, working for the government and exploring my art. I tried many different mediums, oils, acrylic and airbrush. I managed to get several shows during this time and I was in a three way tie for first place with a juried show sponsored by the Maryland Parks and Recreation and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The prize of this contest was that your artwork would be displayed on a billboard in the DC area. I did a airbrush comet streaking through the night sky.
After 10 years in the DC area, I sold everything I had except my art equipment and artwork (I stored them) and took off with my best friend from Kentucky for another road trip. We went to Denver then to San Francisco, on to LA, then Phoenix, and back to Denver, where I worked and still created my drawings. Each time I took a break and then resumed my art, it got better and more refined. Life experiences, visual experiences and meeting new people and hearing their stories always kept adding to my understanding of myself and that lead to a 'grounding' so to speak, of my artwork.
After the Denver experience, I ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio with my best friend again. Since the world of mapping was on the edge of being digitized, and I had no experience or education for it, I found myself without a steady means to support myself. At the ripe old age of 43 I became a cosmetologist. I found that the creative part of me enjoyed doing this work, as I went from two dimensional expression to three dimensional. I have worked in this field for 20 years now, going from a stylist to instructor and then Program Director. I retired in 2011when I had my pacemaker implanted. I now live in Tampa Florida with my cat, Gracie.
After loosing my partner in 2008, I stopped drawing. I needed time to collect my thoughts and rediscover myself and learn how to be single again. So in October of 2012 I sold all that wasn't necessary and moved to a place where I did not know anyone and a city I had never been in. It was a bold move for a 64 year old man, but I needed that re-connection to life as well as that need to reconnect to my art and inner self. We shall see what comes of this.