I have been interested in art since 1980 when I started taking art classes while attending Western Washington University. I needed a break from the sciences and found art making incredibly satisfying. I soon switched majors and graduated with a degree in art with an emphasis on both ceramics and painting. After graduation I returned to Philadelphia and worked in advertising, all the while pursuing my own art on the side. At this time, I was focused on both painting and screen printing, particularly enjoying the technical aspects of stencil making and registration (color alignment). After 10 years in advertising, I was looking for a change. My wife (then my fiancé) suggested teaching art. I was always nervous about public speaking but decided it was time to overcome that fear. I am so glad I did. I was able to get my teaching credentials quickly. I liked teaching from the start, was teaching a subject that I loved, to my surprise enjoyed the theatre of teaching, and found working with kids great fun! In addition, teaching made me a better artist. I often said to myself, “I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this”. I taught middle school art for 3 years in Philadelphia, and elementary art for the past 20 years in Collingswood, NJ. After 23 years of a rewarding career it was time for a new adventure and to refocus on my own art. With a combination of sadness and excitement I retired in July of 2020. Since retiring we have relocated to Central Pennsylvania.
The guiding principle I have followed as an artist is that beauty is a worthy end in itself. Attaining beauty can be a transcendent spiritual experience. As such it has depth and meaning. I grew up in an outdoor loving family and much of my subject matter is inspired by nature. I’ll often start with a seed idea from the natural world. It can be as simple as a bird and flower, tide pool, or something more visually complicated such as a memory, or exploration of a subject that is set in nature. I then strive to make the artwork as physically beautiful as possible. I work in both collage and painting. My collages evolved from teaching screen printing. I initially used cut paper collage as a way of teaching stencil making. The precision, detail, and flatness of color appealed to me and I continued with this process after I gave up my Philadelphia screen printing studio in 2001. I discovered Wycinanki, the Polish folk art of paper cutting in 2011. The subject matter of birds, flowers and wild colors contrasting with a unifying black background paper appealed to me and I gave it a try. I quickly found Wycinanki’s traditional symmetry limiting, but still loved it’s stylized and graphic qualities, and felt the limiting parameters created a strength and visual power. The best analogy I can use is that of a power washer. When all that water is forced through a small opening it comes out with great force. I feel this way about the paper cut technique and the graphic simplicity of the imagery.