“My current medium is acrylic paint on canvas. In college, I focused on figurative sculpture. I’ve done bronze casting. I spent several years as a custom woodworker. Then I got into teaching, and that got me into watercolor and calligraphy and art history and all that. I co-wrote, edited, and produced a few freelance movies, too. Really, what got me back into painting was several years ago, I was encouraged to paint a rain barrel for the auction. At that time, I had spent 20 years of teaching how to draw what you see and paint what you see, and I was bored. It was the rain barrels that got me back into painting, and that’s when I got into teaching myself how to be abstract, which was a huge personal process for me to go through. The last six years, I’ve been doing the abstract art. I’ve gotten national attention, international awards, I’m selling some major pieces here and there. I’m in the process of revamping my website so it’s more e-commerce friendly.
I work at Goshen High School. I’ve been here since 2007. During that time, I’ve taught the television class, I’ve taught International Baccalaureate, I’ve taught drawing, just about anything other than ceramics. Currently, I’m teaching photography and computer graphics and filmmaking. I’m teaching kids how to plan and shoot and edit their video productions, so they’re actually thinking about them.
As an art teacher and having taught art history for so long, I really shifted away from teaching students how to memorize pieces. Because what interested me was how these artists lived – where they lived and when they lived and how that is reflected in what they made. That just opened up a whole new world of understudying art. As an artist myself, living in this time and age, it gave me huge freedom to not be academic in my artwork but to just express me. To that end, I’ve got some pieces in my studio that are incredibly personal to me that I will never sell, because they speak to a time in my life of going through a process. This is now a visual reflection of going through that process.
The real joy is when complete strangers come in and they connect with something that I did. And that’s the magic. A piece that I don’t necessarily like, somebody else just loves, and it speaks to them. That’s what kind of keeps me going as an artist.
I grew up in South Bend, and I got the opportunity to learn how to teach in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area at a private school up there. So we moved up there and it was a cultural ‘Wow! This is so cool!’ People were nice, people were friendly. If you had an idea, they were just very inclusive – ‘Let’s give it a shot. Let’s see what happens.’ It was just very comfortable. Due to circumstances, I ended up moving back to South Bend, and it put the brakes on that. It was very strange. But coming to Goshen was like the Twin Cities experience. There’s an acceptance. People generally want to work together. There’s just this real openness. I think that’s why there’s a lot of arts organizations and artists here. There’s this little bubble in north-central Indiana that attracts these creative people.”