I believe that our brains are wired in certain ways. We each have our our gifts or talents. Some people just seem to know how to play musical instruments. I know several gifted self taught guitar players. So there seems to be something that is born into us. I also believe that we can learn and master new skills. You’re good at what you practice. So from an early age, art was what I did. I’m not saying I’m the world’s greatest artist, but over many years, I have developed a familiarity not only with painting technique, but also with that invisible part of me that wants to communicate something. I’m not so unique, and yet within the human race, which makes us alike, we each have a unique voice. We all experience life on planet Earth in our own individual way... from our own perspective. So I do what I do to show you what is unique about me, but also to relate to you.
Together, my voice joins with your voice, and those of the ancient cave painters... great painters, sculptors, writers that have been celebrated by society, and everyone that has followed through on a creative urge, to express what it feels like to be human.
How do you Work?
Mostly, I paint alone in my studio. I paint quickly, and while I do, my mind is very active. That part is unintentional. Memories come bubbling up from my distant past, or my brain comes up with answers to current questions. That’s why I say painting is meditative. Time in the studio passes very quickly.
The way those thoughts surface is similar to how the paint lays itself onto the canvas.
Sometimes I paint in a social setting. Friends come over and hang out, or I’ll do a demonstration in front of a group. When that happens, I tend to verbalize those thoughts that come with the process.
What’s your Background?
My grandfather was an artist and an art teacher. I didn’t live near him, and didn’t really “discover” his art until after his death.
I was born in Michigan, which is where I later attended art school. I graduated from High School in Liberia, West Africa. These experiences laid the foundation for what I do now, but I really developed as an artist right here in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
This is where I developed confidence and intention as an artist.
What’s Integral to the work of an Artist?
I think it is essential to have a viewpoint. Art is communication. It is language.
The meaning that compels an artist to create is the meaning that will resonate with the viewer. What has a specific meaning to me may strike a chord that is specific in you. Our individual experiences stem from greater themes that run through all of us. That’s why popular music is popular. You sing about your break-up, and I apply your song to my break-up.
What Role does the Artist have in Society?
It is the role of the artist to be the voice of their generation.
What has been a Seminal Experience?
Throughout the first half of my life, I learned the mechanics of drawing. I hadn’t connected drawing with expressing until the Grand Marais Art Colony hosted a show called PROUD FLESH, that I discovered that I could tell personal stories through the images.
Art doesn’t have to be pretty to be beautiful or poignant.
It made me feel vulnerable to tell such personal stories and have them hanging on a wall for everyone to see. But it was liberating.
What’s your Favorite Artwork?
Fearless art appeals to me. Bold, abstract paintings tend to draw me in, maybe with a mid century vibe.
Thanks to successstory
I have a studio in my basement where I have created my paintings for the past 25 years. I like it because I don’t worry so much about getting paint on the floor. I have a big sink and adequate lighting, so it works for me.
What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you?
I guess I am moved by my memories and the emotions I find attached to them.
As I have said, my mind wanders when I paint. The recollections influence what flows off the brush, though that information would not be obvious to anyone but me. Still those people, places and times are embedded right in the paint. It’s hidden. Sometimes intentionally cryptic. Or so I tell myself. Once in a while, strangers look at my paintings and then surprise me with what they saw. My daughter, on the other hand, generally knows exactly what I was thinking about at first glance.
Where do you feel art is going?
I believe art is going the easy route. You can “create a painting of your profile picture with just one click.” But that isn’t art, is it? Is it? I’m not sure. The art of a programmer, maybe.
The urge to create is so strong in artists that I think it can go any and every direction.
When all the digital files are erased, and aliens visit our vacant planet, the drawings at Chauvet Cave will still be there. After all the cities topple.
Maybe I missed the point of the question.
What is the role of the artist in society?
How many times have I heard “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like when I see it.”?
No you don’t.
The artists inform society about beauty. That is why styles change. And by art, I mean painters, fashion designers, music producers... we don’t know what we like, so we fit in.
What technique do you use?
I paint quickly, usually in bright colors. I use my old worn out or misshapen brushes, and find myself digging through my art box for one with a point on it.
Is that what you mean by technique?
The local newspaper described my style as “casual, creative fearlessness.” That’s at least something to strive for.
Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
Oh come on. What’s more important, the meaning in a sentence or the sentence structure? Art is communication. You can learn all the rules of painting, but if you have nothing to say, who cares?
I’ll go with the subject.
Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
I general, I like a more energetic and expressive approach. I like to see the process in the painting. Like showing your work in a math problem.
I like to see the brushstrokes.
Where does your inspiration come from when you are painting?
Inspiration comes from everything I have seen or heard. Everything I have experienced in this world or in dreams.
Does any of your painting have a deeper meaning?
How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?
I feel like myself. When I am in that mode of focused creativity, I’m free. I’m not thinking about whether anyone will like what I produce. I’m just making decisions. Playing. I don’t have to justify it.