It was the middle of the '80's that I began thinking seriously about the idea of making art. I had over 200 college credits in a couple of different majors before I even started taking art classes. On an economic level, becoming an artist might not be considered sound judgement. However, on every other level, it made real sense. In 1985, my brain was officially set on fire with Art. I read like crazy, Kafka, philosophy, Proust, the Russians (Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy), and checked out a foot high stack of books on artists from the library on a weekly basis.
I was going through the normal art training at Moorhead State University with the usual ups and downs, studying under Timothy Ray and Carl Oltvedt. In the Fall of 1987, I remember, my mid-program review was not going all that well as we were looking at my life drawing studies, and snippets of other work from my classes, until I opened up a portfolio of drawings I had been doing on my own. Chairperson P. Richard Seitz face suddenly lit up as I pulled out my pastel drawings, and a wry smile went across his face as if to say, now we're talking! One of his comments that day was, "keep the sensitivity of your line." Suddenly, we had some energy in the room. To my utter astonishment, the committee loved this group of pastels I had been working on over the summer, and they were happy to approve me into the BFA program. I was officially off and running.
The 90's began with me in the middle of a Master's program at Eastern Illinois University. The piece called, A Last Stand, a large pastel drawing. Looking back it was probably the first piece I ever had in a competitive art show. The piece was in a show at Northwestern University in Chicago. I framed it, loaded it into a cardboard box and mailed it with money from my teaching stipend. A week later, I received a call from the gallery saying that the drawing arrived with the plexi-glass smashed, but they would show it without the glass. I've since refined my shipping technique.
After finishing up at Eastern Illinois University, I headed back home, moving to Minneapolis. To the right, is a very large drawing titled, The Posse, 1991. It was the first time I combined acrylic and pastel in my work. The picture is of 4 dastardly characters up to no good, a theme that never seems to go out of style.
The 1990's sort of ended with a bang for me, even though it was becoming abundantly clear that making a living as an artist was not going to happen for me. I landed in a show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. So, at least once in my life, I got to walk into the Institute, and see one of my drawings on the wall. It was hello art world and goodbye art world all in one shot. That piece, titled, Aroma, is to the left.
Had art not crept into my Being, and become a part of my flesh and blood, the 2000's are really where I should have been done making art. I was now a full-time graphic designer (good luck finding a job in the Fine Art field). Of course, I didn't go into art for the money, obviously! I went into art for the soul, for the sheer magic of being alive on this far-flung planet and being pulled into the experience on the deepest possible level. The personal growth that comes from a study and development of an art form is only half of the experience, the other half is the greater receptivity to Art in general that it develops within you. Connecting to all art forms on much more than a passing level is as important as developing your own work. Artists are always talking about this writer or this music, dance, whatever. As my surgeon and I ended a conversation, "How do people live without art?"
So, here it is, my forth decade making art, I have no gallery representation, haven't won a significant grant or award, and truth be told, making art does not come easy for me. I really have no business still doing this, yet I couldn't be happier with the lifelong endeavor of making art. Furthermore, something very liberating happens with this lack of recognition, you understand that your art isn't going to take you anywhere, but you keep going. Because on a personal level, it is taking you somewhere and there's growth in that. It's about having some of your own ideas, your own creativity and relation with the world, and not constantly feeding off of the creativity of others.
2004 - Minnesota State Fair, 4th place
2003 - Minnesota State Fair, Honorable Mention
2002 - Minnesota State Fair, 4th place
2000 - Minnesota State Fair, Merit
Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN
The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI
Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
AZ Gallery, Lowertown, St. Paul, MN
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Carnegie Art Center, Mankato, MN
Speedboat Gallery, St. Paul, MN
The University of South Dakota
Sioux City Art Center, IA
Northfield Arts Guild, MN
Bloomington Art Center, MN
University of North Dakota