I grew up in the great north woods of New York, with a pencil in my hand. My father inspired me to draw, I actually did a drawing exercise daily at 4 or 5 years old. Having early success I kept at it, through the "erase & redo" phase. I was doing "good likeness" pencil portraits by age 12. I think I drew every motorcycle in existence.
At 20 I moved to Santa Barbara, lived in a Tipi (18 ft). I did etching, while there became a Christian.
In 1982 I trained for and got work in Technical Illustration, (Back when they used technical pens.) I also illustrated three books while starting to develop a painting portfolio of full color renderings. I intended to work in an art department of an aircraft company.
We took a break to do missionary work, which didn't work out. Consequentially I ended up back in New York where I took a job painting murals in outdoor advertising. I worked there for 10 years.
Following that I landed in the LA area where I eventually got work for a contractor doing murals and signs in public schools.
I now have my contractors license, insurance, bonds and am no longer "slaving for the man."
Artistically, I consider myself a "Ruskinite", I discovered the writings of John Ruskin "by chance" in a Kent Washington library in 1984. A copy of "The Elements of Drawing" (written in 1857) was lying flat on the end of a shelf and I casually grabbed it passing by not realizing how much this author would influence me.
Ruskin is not for cowards though, as he writes at a much higher grade level than most people read at today. I usually read & re-read in order to make sure I get it. I read legal language, so obviously he's a hard read. It's worth it though if you're an artist.
Do you want to be a better artist? Struggle through it! Read Ruskin!
Many of you who I've painted for through my previous employer will remember me as the guy with the purple truck. I got a few strange looks when first arriving at schools to do Sign/Mural work in my high miles '95 Nissan pick up, the truck and utility cap painted purple.
The truth is that I got the truck in a work trade New Years '02 for doing a Hawaii style over/under painting (whales, dolphins, tropical fish etc.) on the lunchroom wall of a Paper Company in City of Industry, CA. I worked 11 days, 130 hours and got the truck and $600.to boot.
It was owned by a lady sign painter who commissioned me the project. Eventually I did paint the truck before I sold it because I got a '98 Nissan with the same size bed so as to switch my utility cap/ladder rack to the new from the old truck- but the new truck was red..... So, I didn't want a purple utility cap on a red truck (and besides it would make the old truck sell easier) So, I painted them gray.
The cap (white) which came on the new truck was put on the old and I sold it to a pretty lady for $1700.00. You'll note in my School Graphics Bio some of the pictures of paintings have a red Nissan with a gray cap and rack in the picture.
I did hundreds of signs and murals in my 1998 Nissan Frontier and it served me well…I had completely forgotten some of what I could be enjoying out of pure financial practicality…It was working for a mural truck, It was paid for…(I actually bought it for $5000.00 cash) and when the motor decided to arf it’s cookies (Actually the timing chain broke and bent the Valves) like the unspoiled practical old dog I’ve become I dropped all my savings, charged the rest and replaced the 4 cylinder motor. I’d been contently ignoring how underpowered the truck was. It did the job.
Well, I don’t know if God has a sense of humor…or allows things we don’t want or realized I should be ashamed when interviewed on “Top Gear” but as time and fortune would have it while tooling along under the Allen St. bridge below Rte 210 I had the misfortune of having a lovely but horrible driving woman decide to pull from her red curb parking spot directly into my Nissans front passenger wheel, bending it and my frame, totaling my Nissan!
I was sooooooo bummed out for weeks. I hadn’t owed anyone money in ten years and obviously it was unavoidable now. Insurance companies never seem to rightly pay what should be gotten…Mine was no exception. One good thing was that a witness stopped and gave me her name & phone number which verified what I told them happened. I did as best as I could, borrowed as cheaply as possible and hunted longer than should be done but finally got a Toyota pick up, very nice and clean, 6 cylinder (Jeremy Clarkson would say POOOOOWER!!) To top it off it’s a standard 5 speed…I love driving a standard (Cheaper on gas too!)
So, as I rack up mileage too quickly, slowly try not to grieve about scratches etc. I remembered that when you have more power and gears just going anywhere can be enjoyable…just the process. I’d forgotten about enjoying just driving. A man and his truck…It’s a good thing!