Creating (and looking at) images has been my driving passion since childhood. Whatever was there to see, would be soaked into the cranial sponge through my left eye (the right one slumbers in it's socket, only half-aware). Several early surgeries (for extreme strabismus - crossed eyes) left me with essentially monocular vision and zero depth perception. There's good detail and perifery but the right eye just doesn't pay attention, resulting in amblyopia (or lazy eye). A good bit of my early childhood was spent with a patch on my good eye, so the weak one wouldn't completely give up the ghost. The occasional peek through a loose edge of the patch, and finally liberation from it, provided a rush of ocular dynamism that was almost overpowering. I've often wondered what affect this had on my interest in drawing.
I was originally awash in the polychromatics of comic books and coloring books, but I soon found that I was drawn to graphite, especially soft graphite. When my obsession for drawing became obvious, relatives would give me anything that resembled a blank sheet of paper. The ubiquitous "shirt cardboard" from the laundry was the worst. Slick white cardboard coupled with some ancient petrified pencil was enough to quell any aspirations to draw, but draw I did.
When I inadvertantly discovered decent paper and softer pencils it was a sensual revelation.
The sketchbooks accumulated.
The doodles proliferated.
I returned to color upon discovering quality colored pencils a number of years ago. Ultimately I found this medium to require an excessive investment of time and energy, one particular drawing taking a good part of a year to complete.
When living in London (on a teaching stint), I was determined to experience the city and it's environs. I couldn't do this hunched over a drawing board. At that point I began using dry pastel. I found that I could work much faster, albeit with less detail, and create on a larger scale as well.
Upon returning from the UK, I eventually embraced the monochromatic "spectrum" once again.
I have been working on this current series of drawings for several years; the format being vertically oriented Canson paper (20 x 26") executed with compressed charcoal. I blend with my fingers. Nothing else works, much to the chagrin of my digits.
The majority of these are born live (or dead, depending on your point of view) from my imagination. A series of small sketches eventually makes it to a finished piece. A few pieces were inspired by looking at real faces (or remembering them).
The images are metaphorical, to be taken as a whole. They seem to gain power from each other and to flourish in proximity, although they have yet to appear together in one place (except in my studio).
Some of the forms seem humorous, some horrific, and still others wistfully romantic. Specific meaning is rarely applied to these pieces as I draw them. I work with them until they seem "correct". You may draw your own conclusions. I always feel some degree of success when someone resonates with one of my images and communicates that resonance to me in some form.
My influences are, for the most part, not other "artists".
The strongest influences are primal rather than intellectual. Primal images are most easilly assimilated by the innocent mind. As a child I spent equal amounts of time in front of a black and white television, and running amuck outdoors (digging and climbing and finding). The time spent in front of the tube involved a kind of digging, climbing, and finding as well. Shady detectives, monsters, and mysterious architecture drew me in. Weekly trips to the cinema provided some extremely dynamc input as well. I was lucky enough to have an older brother who, on occasion, would tolerate my presence at our local movie palace. The choices were diverse, but decidedly off-cenrter; Corman's Poe films, Fellini's 8 1/2 and a number of forgettable adventure epics. The horror and sci-fi movies made the biggest impression.
The cranial sponge was working overtime...and it all comes out in the wash.
All of these images are under protective copyright, but few have seen wide published exposure.
Most of them have been sold in greeting card form (produced by me in limited editions).
"Rapture" has been used as cover art for "Avenue X and Other Dark Streets" by Nancy Collins as well as a limited edition preview print for my collaboration with Bob Burden on The Secret Circus project. "Polarized Man" was used as an interior illustration for Ms. Collins' Tenth Anniversary Edition of Sunglasses After Dark
Various drawings from the series have been featured in the following publications:
The Print Regional Design Annual(2001)
Spectrum 11: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (2004)
Spectrum 12: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (2005)
Spectrum 13: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (2006)
Spectrum 14: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (2007)
The Communication Arts Illustration Annual (2009)