I’ve always been a “good boy,” and that’s had a profound affect on many of my life choices, as well as my identity and career as an artist. Growing up I had an active imagination and a vital interior life, both of which were fed by a home environment that encouraged an interest in art and making. The house was always well stocked with art supplies, my grandmothers taught me an array of needle crafts, and I even tie-dyed my underwear in the Cub Scouts. But, when it came time to consider career options, art wasn’t on the table. Good boys make the most of their analytical skills and aptitude for science, and they go off to college to become dentists. Well, my biology major morphed into degrees in geography and a career as a cartographer, which in turn evolved into my present career in IT management. All along this circuitous path I played with textiles and made quilts for friends and family members. It wasn’t until a rather stereotypical mid-life crisis and some deep soul searching that I was able to claim my identity as an artist, fully connect with textile as the medium in which I’m called to work, and begin my journey to becoming a more complete person.
Who could have predicted that my tie-dyed underwear–which accidentally tinted my father’s white undershirts pink!–would be the start of a lifelong love of dyeing cloth? Virtually all of my textile work starts with white cloth, to which I add color and visual texture using a variety of mark making tools and techniques. I add color and marks in layers to create a level of complexity that’s engaging and pleasing without being overwhelming. I dye, paint, print, cut, rearrange, and stitch my compositions repeatedly and in any order until I achieve a design that’s got something to say.
And that’s the big question: What’s the meaning of my art, and why do I make it? I often understand my work best when it’s finished and I’ve had an opportunity to explore the same subject in several completed compositions. My work is abstract and has most recently featured large gestural circles that have been cut apart and reassembled. These pieces speak to the search for wholeness and integration despite the brokenness and jagged edges that are part of the life journey for many of us. My work very often includes densely placed quilting lines that are reminiscent of contour lines on a topographic map, clearly harking back to my years as a mapmaker. In this work I hope to create images that are visually interesting, but which also touch the viewer and communicate a shared human experience in a way that words cannot.