You do everything (paint, wood, sculpt, weld, etc), how did it all start? What did you start with, and what do you return to when you need to create?
Tinkering, I’ve always loved taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and sometimes putting them back together. I think it started with legos, remote control cars, and rockets. Any serious woodworking skills didn’t begin until I took a set building class in college, and then I learned basic welding and metalwork while working for a company that manufactured camera cranes and dollies for the film industry. Painting came much later when I decided to pick up a canvas after spending 15 years behind a computer as a digital artist. Today I’m realising the medium matters less than the inspiration, I’ll work with anything that gets my blood pumping and conveys my concept. My default has always been wood and metal. They can really compliment each other, with color, texture, and structural integrity.
Were you scared when you made the decision to leave your full time job to make art?
Absolutely, but several things came into alignment that made it a clear that it was the right decision. I pulled the bandaid off very slowly, working part time for 2 years before leaving completely. After the death of a close friend, I knew there would never be a right time, and I didn’t want to die sitting behind a computer daydreaming about the things I wanted to create. I had about three months worth of commision work to get me started, so i put my head down and haven’t looked back! My biggest piece of advice is to surround yourself with the right people. I found my tribe of artist chasing the goal of sustainably creating the things that are meaningful and important to them. I’m also very fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive partner, who understands what I’m doing and sees value in me doing it.
You seem like your love for Metal goes deep into the music of your childhood. Am I right? What was the first concert you went to, and what’s the top 5 on your playlist when you are working?
Yes, metalwork and metal music are the perfect pairing! I grew up listening to all kinds of music, but industrial and metal still resonate with me. It’s funny that all of the abrasive noise and screaming seem to settle my mind, I think it’s like noise cancellation! The first concert I attended was The Beach Boys, but the first of my choosing was Ratt. The top five on my playlist today would be NIN, Tool, Deftones, The Bronx, and The Refused. I was clearly influenced by the music and the artwork of these bands, especially Tool.
You are the coolest Floridian I’ve ever met. How’d you get here? When you hear the word, “home,” where does your mind go?
Thanks! I don’t believe I can give the title of “home” to any one state. Born in Detroit, my family moved to Florida when I was ten years old, and then I moved to Los Angeles in 1999. The west coast has been good to me, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities and met a lot of wonderful people. If home is a feeling than there is no stronger feeling of home than when I’m all alone in my dirty studio, surrounded by wood, metal, and possibilities. There is no right or wrong in my home, only the freedom to explore any ideas or concepts that enter my brain. It’s something I’ve never felt through any other activity, maybe surfing an empty break, but when does that happen in L.A.?!
How is the work you are producing now related to your beginning as an artist? Has there ever been a time in your life when you were not expressing your creativity? Do you remember the first time you showed a piece of your work in an art show?
The work I’m producing now is a culmination of the path that I’ve followed. I’m not sure when I began being an artist, it was in my job title for years before I actually accepted it. My creativity came out in tiny spurts for most of my life. I’d build things here and there, but it never felt like it was a purpose to invest myself into until a few years ago. My first art show was a charity event that I donated this elaborate custom frame with a photo I took in it. I think a lot of people underestimate the amount of courage it takes to repeatedly throw your work and yourself in front of people and declare “ I created this and I think it has meaning and value!”.
Why do you think ShockBoxx works?
I think ShockBoxx does a good job of exclusive inclusion. Everyone is invited but the work doesn’t get lost in a sea of artist, everyone feels like a feature. It was clear from the first show I attended that they were going to approach things differently, bring some fun to the game without sacrificing the quality of the work. I respect a gallery that doesn’t just allow me to hang my work, but actively tries to elevate all of the artist involved. I work 7 days a week and I appreciate that this gallery works 8!