“When I decided to go into the art market, one of the things that struck me was the fact that while I was building my art I was mainly thinking about the people in my community. The people in Goshen are very, very supportive. That gave me the push and inspiration that if I keep going this route, I can make a living off of this community. One thing I can proudly tell you now is that every mile you go from wherever you are, you will find someone’s yard or someone’s house that will have one of my pieces. I got the support everyone needs from the community – which is, you know, buying my pieces. That was the push that made me stay when I was deciding if I was going to live here or not.
The primary material that I use is mostly from the scrap yard. It’s upcycled material. Everything I do is from scrap metal. My metal will vary from either steel or aluminum and I use the welding process to put them together. I have a certification in welding so I can proudly tell you my welding is professionally done.
When I was in my senior year in college, the Midwest Museum of American Art was having their juried show that they do every fall. John Mishler, my professor, told me about the show. And for some strange reason, a lot of students don’t get into the show. So I went through the thought process of thinking of something I would build that people outside of my circle would see. I decided to build a tree, tied to the tree of life. While I was building it I was excited about the results I was getting. When I got done, everyone around me was impressed with it. Of course, I’ve always thought that people are just being nice by saying, ‘Oh yeah, we love!’ Not only did it make it into the show but I got an award for best sculpture and a purchase award. So it was my first major big check for my art. That has stuck with me forever.
As an artist, we usually go to art shows throughout the summer. The uncertainty hit and we were left with the anxiety of, ‘Is this show going to happen?’ Ninety percent of the shows were canceled and some are still in limbo. And then there is the concern of, ‘How are we going to protect ourselves and the people around if we do go to the shows that aren’t canceled?’”