Ancient HistoryI began my career as a working artist in February 2000. Before that time I only painted sporadically, never seriously attempting to really pursue a career as a fine artist. It's not that I didn't want to paint for a living, I just didn't know how to get started. When I was a little kid I assumed a career in art involved painting pictures and selling them, but it wasn't long before the term "starving artist" was introduced to me! I studied art in high school and college, learning about techniques, tools and materials, but I still had no Idea how a person turns creativity into a reasonably marketable skill. Then I discovered the world of graphic arts. While I was in my early twenties I worked for several printing companies, learning paste-up and typesetting. I also learned darkroom techniques, and became rather masterful with a stat camera (if you don't know what that is, don't worry. They have pretty much been replaced by computers.) During this time I met my future wife, Leslie. She also had some background in graphic arts, and we decided to start a printing company together. What were we thinking? It was hard, it was smelly, and it was a real challenge for two young people without a lot of experience in the business world. But we learned a tremendous amount, and it led us to the next phase of our lives...
Computer GraphicsMy experience in the printing business led me into the world of computer graphics. We used to have a big, clunky typesetter which had a green CRT screen and accepted one line of text at a time. When I saw what a Macintosh and a laser printer could do, I was immediately hooked! Over the next few years we saw a lot of our colleagues go out of business. But we embraced the new technology, selling our presses and going digital. I quickly evolved from a printer to graphic designer, working for many high level ad agencies and design firms in Atlanta. Soon I was in demand for my skills with Photoshop, Illustrator, and a variety of 3D rendering programs. My wife and I formed our own graphic design company, and we were very successful. But for me, there was something missing. I am a creative person, and I feel a real need to express myself creatively. Sure, creativity is an important part of commercial illustration and graphic design, but clients have a tendency to suck the life out of an artist's concept. It wasn't enough for me. Then came the ice storm...
The Ice Storm of 2000In the winter of 2000, Atlanta was hit by a major ice storm. Here in the South, we're not really equipped to deal with major winter weather. When it hits, we're not prepared. Schools close, cars crash into each other, anarchy ensues. And I'm not talking about major snow storms here, I mean an inch or two of snow! But the ice storm of 2000 was worse than that. We had freezing rain, then regular rain, then a hard freeze. The power lines became covered with ice, and the weight of the ice pulled the lines down all over the Atlanta area. Power crews were busy for over a week trying to restore order. Meanwhile, my family had a predicament. We couldn't use our computers! We went through our board games and played all the card games we could think of, and then we just sat around staring at each other. I finally decided it was a great time to get out the old paints and see what I could do. The flood gates opened! I haven't stopped painting since. Over the years I have sold my work through many galleries across the U.S. I now have over 1000 paintings in collections on five continents.
I am fascinated by the layers of chaos and order that I see everywhere. It's the relationship between the chaos of blizzard and the ordered structure of a snowflake. My paintings serve as a metaphor for this effect.
The grid formed by the square tiles in my paintings provide a layer of order. This gives the painting a photographic effect as the mind composites the image from the individual squares. The tiles are each rendered independently of each other, adding a layer of chaos. Order returns within each painted tile, but breaks down into chaos again as I use a loose, lively stroke when rendering each square.
I didn't come up with this theory and plan my art around it. Rather, as my technique has evolved my understanding of this relationship between chaos and order has evolved along with it - which goes back into the art.
Drawing influence from Japanese pop art and traditional American and European illustration styles, my Magic Pictures are pure products of creative emotion. I don't over-think them; I just let the paintings define themselves. Often portraying my daughter and wife, these paintings are personal expressions.