EVOLUTION OF AN ARTIST
The Bare Essentials
April 21, 1946- born in Lafayette, IN
1948-1965- grew up in Connersville, IN and Rochester, NY; while in Rochester developed a strong interest in jazz and classical music, thanks in large part to the presence of the Eastman School of Music and weekends at local jazz clubs
1965-1970- attended Indiana University School of Music, majoring in bass trombone
1968- married the former Penny Akens, now the corporate wizard CPA
1969- was graduated from I.U. with coveted degree in bass trombone
1970 and 1973- begat two perfect children, Theresa and Adam
1970-1977- seven years of blue light specials with the management program of K-Mart. Hey, even trombone players have to eat.
1974- began painting as a hobby, thanks to the friendship and encouragement of a fellow K-Mart employee
1977-1999- pursued a full time art career painting photo-realistic urban landscapes
1999- 2009- designed and built contemporary furniture and accessories
2009- present- designing and creating sculpture with woodturned elements
Click on the Paintings photo to see more examples with large pictures.
Click on the Furniture photo to see more examples with large pictures.
Creative design is the foundation upon which successful artistic enterprise is built. The psychological space a work of art occupies, its visceral magnetic allure, is as meaningful as its physical presence. As an artist, I’m keenly aware of the importance of this principal. The measure of success I achieve is directly related to my understanding of these dynamics.
Craftsmanship is also unequivocally vital. Solid construction technique and attention to detail are an absolute prerequisite to the success of the finished product. Every component of a piece deserves the same degree of scrutiny and attention. Each part is an integral component of the whole.
My involvement with music, painting, and furniture design has been crucial to my development as a sculptor. The lessons learned with all these art forms have been directly responsible for the directions my work now lead me.
Performing in a symphony orchestra or large jazz ensemble is an exciting, often powerful experience. It takes skill, dedication, and focus. Although my music career fell short of my expectations, it was a worthwhile experience and taught me much that would guide me throughout my creative life.
My first real world artistic job was painting, making meticulously detailed photo-realistic scenes of the urban environment on canvas. Painting teaches you all about form, balance, color, composition, etc., necessary components of successful work.
Furniture design takes you from 2D to 3D, but employs the same principles, only with different raw materials. It becomes important to understand how different woods work together, how wood figure comes into play, and how a piece can change appearance depending on the viewer’s point of view.
All three areas coalesce in my sculpture. My approach to new work is rooted in over forty years of arts involvement. I draw on everything I’ve learned and experienced to express myself.
Researching painting subjects taught me to be very observant and look for interesting patterns and designs, be they natural or man made. The rhythmic propulsion inherent in music helps convey a sense of motion in a piece. The spatial relationships at the core of well designed furniture aid in achieving balance and proportion.
It can be a very open-ended process. Much of my work grows and matures on its own. That is, I may start with a specific idea, but as things progress new thoughts come to mind and the piece may change direction. Woodturning, like stone sculpture, is subtractive in its approach. You cut away at something to reveal the hidden inner beauty within. As shavings fly off the piece of wood, new patterns emerge as well as new spatial relationships. This affects the way I further compose the piece and surprising things often result that completely transform the final object.
That’s a big part of the fun, and it can be an even bigger challange to free my mind and let intuition and inspiration take over. It’s a calling with many rewards and I’m grateful to be a part of it.