The Big Bang:
My parents divorced when I was five. We moved across country leaving my beloved Father behind in Chicago. I didn't see him again for a couple of years. It was a turbulent time and I began to draw as a way to escape my troubles i suppose. I taught myself while in math class and social studies. I was a below average student, yet, I excelled in all my art and PE classes. As a youth, if I wasn't drawing I was riding my bmx bike practicing every trick in the book, playing basketball, football, baseball, wrestling, kickboxing, taking martial arts classes, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and eventually kayaking. I was reckless, athletic and artistic. I had little interest or patience in a formal art education. What I loved about art was the complete freedom of expression, the magical hand it extended to me when I needed to escape. I didn't want to sit in classroom and have a teacher tell me what or what not to draw.
After HS I moved down to South Florida to live with my Father. I began working for a neighbor of his who was an artist and had about 20 employees. About a year later I decided I would give art school a shot. My suspicions where confirmed, one teacher told me to never use an eraser as "each line you make is a work of art." Another began his classes with a meditation exercise to rid our minds of thought so we can begin our creative process with a "blank canvas." Both of these ideas I rejected. My eraser was my best friend, for I knew the exact line I wanted to make and would erase until I got it right, often erasing holes in the paper. And to me art is just an extension of who I am, a way to express my feelings, especially when words fail me. Those two experiences over a couple year period left a bad taste in my mouth, so I made a conscious decision to drop out and travel the world in lieu of an art degree and explore my own methods of self-education. That was the best decision i ever made!
My vagabond type of lifestyle (which span two decades) were spent learning many things which have proven to be useless at this point in my life, such as how to carve an apple into a pipe, how to consume a “bar mistake” quickly without being seen by management or how to drop a 35 foot cliff on my snowboard without dying.
After many years traveling to numerous beautiful and exotic countries; China, India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Italy, Spain, France, New Zealand etc... my artistic expression began to bubble up and overflow out of me like a geyser. Around the time my first child was due, my adventurous lifestyle caught up to me. I had a series of sports related injuries, including; a ruptured Achilles tendon, a dislocated shoulder and a dislocated thumb. I was in my 40's and for the first time I started to feel my age. These injuries turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for they gave me the nudge I needed to begin my art career. Within a year my once so-called hobby turned into a busy art career.
Some artist like to focus on mastering a particular technique, or being able to paint like the masters. And although I find that impressive, I've always taken the approach of focusing my energy on developing my own style, on the ideas at hand or my imagination rather than technique. I figured the technique and skill level will develop organically through repetition, frustration and failure and with hope and hard work towards mastery and perfection.
I find it important to evolve as an artist and being a constructive self-critic is an important part of that process for me. There is a part of me that is never truly satisfied with my work. I believe it's important to maintain a humble perspective of oneself and to constantly pursue more knowledge and experience within the arts, while pushing my own boundaries a little further each time. David Bowie once said, " If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet aren't quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting." That quote resonates with me because that is how I have lived my entire life.