Published by The Island News | June 4, 2015
My dad was an artist…he made fur coats during the day and painted with pastels every night. I think I recall at the age of two Dad gave me some of his broken chalks and a piece of paper.
My mom encouraged me by giving me the “shirt cardboards” that came with the laundry, to paint on.
As early as I can remember, I considered my self to be an artist.
In third grade, my teacher had me go around the room during “art lessons” to help the other kids do better. Some of the “other kids” did not like me very much. In school, I got into trouble when I was drawing instead of learning.
Skipping ahead to high school where I really made art a priority. Everyone else had one art class a week, but I had two each day. My parents convinced the principal that I would be better off having art classes instead of algebra, science and French.
One of my classes was aimed at “fine art” the other was “commercial art.” My commercial art teacher must have recognized my emerging talent… he exposed me to just about every medium and technique he knew about. With his help, I won Scholastic Art awards year after year. As a senior, I won a scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Art & Design.
I sort of floundered in college. Again, the work I was doing seemed more important than learning to do it better. My fine art teacher said I should not mix brushwork and palette knife work on the same canvas. I dropped his course. I am not sure if I was stubborn or independent. I switched to commercial art and design. I graduated from RIT and immediately went to work doing ads for a retail furniture company. I really enjoyed the mixing of art and words. As well as the salary I took home. I now had a wife and small son to support.
I stayed in the commercial art field for a number of years. I moved my family to New York. Here was the Mecca of advertising. I took to it like a duck takes to water. I became an Art Director. My drawing skills were very useful in showing clients how nice their ads would look. During this time, I took part time courses at several art schools. During these lessons, I became aware of the many illustrators that had dominated the art world with their work. Having used some illustrators in my advertising, I knew several of the agents that represented illustrators. Through them, I found a position doing drawings for a company. In this job, I met a photo-retoucher who taught me how to use an airbrush.
Now I am an illustrator. I am painting with an airbrush. I am doing art for large agencies and publishers. Two “agents” around the country and the world are representing me.
I had arrived…making money at work I loved.
Then the bottom dropped out. Computers were creating art. The demand for illustrators was being shared with “techies” people who could not draw anything with their hands.
Both my agents could only find mostly poor paying work for me.
Just then, one of my sons bought a motorcycle. “Paint it for me Dad.” I heard that month after month. I was not familiar with painting on metal or curved surfaces. I declined. After a year, I said I would give it a try. I painted his gas tanks. He put the bike on the road and my phone started to ring.
A new career. I have painted over two hundred motorcycles. Many of them were shown at bike shows. Many of those I painted won awards. I was a bike painter for a number of years. My clients wanted me to paint what they wanted on their bikes. I painted wolves, lions, dragons, eagles and skulls. I did testimonial bikes featuring famous and infamous characters. Guess what, I found out that I could paint. So I started doing that on my own. On canvas. On paper. Pretty soon folks were asking me to do art for them. Fine art. Little by little, regular hair brushes replaced my airbrushes.
Another new career. Twelve or so years ago, I moved here to The Lowcountry. I have fallen in love with the scenery and wildlife that make this area home for me. I have been painting here since then. I have been an avid supporter of The Society of Bluffton Artists. I still belong to that group. For the last 10 years, I have been painting weekend evenings at The Studio Restaurant on Hilton Head where many of my paintings are on display.
I am painting wildlife, real life and most recently, still life. Those famous illustrators, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth and Norman Rockwell opened the door to a world of incredible images and beauty for me.
My background as an illustrator shows in my works today. My work tells a story…come see.