My mother taught me how to see.  We drew panthers and rabbits from her college art books.  She painted autumn landscapes and family portraits while I played with pencils.  Ours was a military life, and we grew up in big cities and small towns.  Summer days and holidays gave me golden childhood times at the family farm, drawing horses and cattle and my grandmother's beloved chickens.

When my father wasn't flying missions around the world, we could always find him building something in the basement or garage.  He built furniture for our house and go-karts for his children.  He let us help him restore an antique airplane and then he taught us how to fly it.  He could build and repair anything.  My favorite place was working alongside my father in his workshop.  He taught me how to care for generations of hand tools, and the importance of planning ahead for each phase of work.  He taught me the value of giving new life to a relic.  I didn't know it at the time, but it was my father that introduced me to assemblage.

My transient lifestyle continued through my college years, as I moved from Missouri to Texas to California to Maryland and back again.  I put myself through college, working full and part-time jobs to fund my fine art studies.  I built my curriculum on every drawing class, sculpture class, design studio and art history course I could fit into my schedule.....I knew I wanted a life making works of art.

In Dallas I had the good fortune of meeting artist David McManaway, and in 1995 he visited my small, cramped object-filled studio.  We exchanged jomos, and he offered me the chance to work alongside him in his large, cramped object-filled studio.  For 15 years, he was a powerful mentor and remarkable friend to me.  Our hours working in his studio were truly symbiotic.....always followed by a cup of coffee.  It was David who nurtured my ability to see.  I miss our spirited arguments and lively exchanges of ideas about art and the world.  I miss his colorful stories and his notorious temper tantrums. I miss getting thrown out of coffee shops with him, because they were playing the wrong music.  But he will always be with me.

It was the unique confluence of these gifted people that created the artist that I am today.  Each of them had a hand in the work coming out of my studio. They are responsible for giving me the tools to do this work.

I just keep the brushes clean.


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