For most of my life I have been a collector; arrowheads, comic books, woodworking tools, antique guns- a typical 20th century middle class fascination with the possession of finely made, relatively inexpensive products of earlier, more hands-on production methods. I was drawn to collecting because they were interesting and beautiful objects, each with a unique place in history and its own story to tell.
I see myself as an entertainer trying to tell irresistible stories with my art. A rewarding aspect of my recent graduate studies in the Masters in Visual Arts Program at Vermont College has been the effect it had on my artistic thinking process. I no longer make art to just produce a new sculpture; making art has now become my method for articulating an idea. I now spend more time thinking and refining an idea than I do in the actual production of the finished piece. The direction my art has taken recently has allowed me to use some of the items I have collected as elements in my installations, so my collections have actually influenced the content of the work I am producing. This has been an unintended but welcome addition to my artistic palette.
My original training was as a woodcarver and that has always been my preferred medium for working, but now I find that each new piece is a unique opportunity and demands its own material vocabulary and imagery to communicate its message. It sometimes seems that the ideas I am working on have a life of their own and I feel obligated to create the total scene that my artistic vision has suggested. I know I shouldn't be afraid of getting involved in large projects, but one of my biggest artistic problems is trying to distill the grandiose ideas I get into manageable endeavor. The art pieces I have been working on recently have elements of my family history and environmental concerns as recurring themes. Although I strive for simplification, I find myself in constant danger of becoming further enmeshed in detail and information overload. To make art that is interesting to the viewer, the artist has to remind himself that the question is often more interesting than the answer.
I have a great concern for the future of the natural systems of the earth. Everywhere it seems the more fragile and beautiful elements of nature are under assault by mankind. The direction of my art practice has now become that of a commentator, making observations about the world around us and asking my audience to think about the consequences that our actions may have, now and in the future.