I am a self-taught artist quickly approaching twenty years of painting. I paint for no other reason than I have to. For some reason, I have this ingrained need to create, to imagine, to dream, and to problem solve my way through this world we were all brought into. My work is unrefined and honest. I like to call it “art for the unwashed.”
I started painting in my first of three rounds of college (I changed careers). I wanted to take an easy class that I hoped would pad my GPA, and be mindless, so I thought painting would do that. I found it to be quite the opposite for me. In fact, I hated it. I understood that learning the basic skills was a necessity, but I received no enjoyment from any of it. One day the professor gave an out of class assignment and dreading it, I took home my materials. When I got to my apartment and sat down to start it, the world opened up for me, and that day I started looking at everything differently. Away from the world of academia and the perceived judgment of my peers, all the possibilities started to seem endless. Ever since that day I have painted. I do it almost every day, and I am driven to refine my style and improve upon my work. I took a break from showing when I was changing fields, and my spouse and I had our amazing child.
I am a father, a husband, an active member of my community, and a nurse. I have dedicated my professional l life to working with at risk youth and have been doing it for about 16 years. I currently work as a pediatric nurse on a crisis unit in a mental health hospital. I feel blessed to, on a daily basis, have a positive impact on other people's lives.
My day job has always involved working with those in need. Before I became a nurse, I was a social worker, so I have always been in the service field, trying to improve the quality of life of other human beings. Early on in my life, I realized that I had a lot of compassion for others and have always been that asshole that wants to make the world a better place. These roles in society are underappreciated; they pay poorly and have very high burnout rates. The work can be violent, bloody, and gritty. I have been in a riot, had my life threatened with weapons, been bitten and assaulted, and every day I get back up and put myself in these places because there is a need. I’m not bitter. Like I said earlier, I feel blessed because I still feel like I get to do some good and touch people’s lives.
Dealing with human beings whose lives are crumbling and who have experienced such tragedies that it haunts them has become a theme in my work. I wouldn’t wish what I have seen these folks experience on my worst enemy. I think that it’s only natural that it shows up in my work. I’m narrating this world. I am telling other people’s stories, and my interaction with their lives. My work doesn’t only focus on the pain of life, but the joy. There are days where the joy and victory is so damn overwhelming you feel like you’re going to implode.
I love to use a lot of color, work with salvaged material, and just overall work on stuff you don’t normally paint on. I have worked through series where I wove my own canvasses together, sewed in wire to accentuate the piece, worked on window screens and odd-shaped canvas and whatever I could find that’s interesting.
I don’t have any clue where I fit into the art world. I have kept myself naïve to art for a reason. I feel like the more that I have learned about something in life, the harder it becomes. I’ll explain: I adore music - it is my absolute obsession. I read about it, study it, study how others create it, follow it, breathe it, and worship at its altar. I love to play and write, but everything I have done with this seems to poorly mimic all the men and women I admire in it. I want my art to be its own thing, not influenced by others. I see my paintings as almost songs. There is a theme to each place, a setting where the narration occurs, and key players in each piece telling their story.
Painting is an unfettered pursuit for me. I don’t know shit about what I’m doing. I’m not even sure if I fit within its borders. The outsider artist community hasn’t been knocking on my door, and neither has the fine arts community. I care about the craft of painting, I work at it every day and strive to keep improving and becoming better at telling the stories. Realistically I don’t think I’m changing the face of art with my work, but I feel like I’m sharing something important, a first-hand experience of the struggle. I hope this finds you well.
I have tried to include a little representation from all of the series I've worked on. Over the years, I have traded, sold, and given away a lot of work that I never even bothered to photograph, so I don’t have documentation of all of it. Because I work in the mental health field, I have to be cautious for the sake of myself and my family, so If you have any interest in what I’m doing, you can reach me at my email address. I check it every day