My artwork is meant to affect a viewer by virtue of its originality, detail, and deep visual vocabulary. My approach is improvisational and I’m concerned with archetypal forms of nature as well as notions of space and dimensionality. I obsess over discrete details and the harmony of color and composition. I strive to produce technically robust work that advances the abstract art genre and contributes to the credibility of digital art as an essential form of contemporary art.
I was classically trained in art by my artist parents and several academic institutions. But, I took to a path of pixels before I had found my footing as an artist, so my technical skill and my artistic vision developed simultaneously as I worked with very early commercial graphics systems. The artworks I make now are created from scratch on a personal computer. I don't use photographs or algorithmically generated images (with a few experimental exceptions). I build up and manipulate the images in many ways including digital facsimiles of drawing, painting and collage, as well as darkroom techniques such as multiple exposure, scale, repetition and color filtering. Many steps and layers are combined to create each unique image.
Everything communicates something.
Some things remind us of something.
Some things cause us to feel something.
Sometimes people perceive things differently.
We're mostly the same.
My parents were both talented professional artists. My mother was a fashion illustrator for many years back when newspaper advertising was done by artists with ink and wash. She taught me to draw figures and has a beautiful illustrative style. My father started his career as a stained glass window artist. He later became a photo retoucher using the airbrush and eventually became a designer for a flooring company. He had a great eye for stylization, texture and pattern. When he retired he became a noted wood and stone sculptor. He showed me how to paint with oils and let me play around with his airbrush equipment. I happily see a lot of my parents' influence in my own aesthetic even though our work is very different.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania that happened to be home to Donnelley Printing Company who was, at the time, the world's largest printing company. It's no surprise then, that my high school had a robust graphic arts program. That's were I spent most of my time in school, running a small press, typesetting, screen printing and playing about in the darkroom.
After high school I enrolled at the York Academy of Art in their commercial art program. After a year there I transferred to the Columbus College of Art and Design. I left there after just a year and got my first real professional job at Donnelley Printing Company in 1983 in the Color Department. There I became one of a small group that operated a state-of-the-art digital graphics system called Scitex. This was an ancient ancestor of the modern desktop systems like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, and was my first exposure to computers.
Sometime around 1985-1986 I made my first digital abstract art. The computers were multi-million dollar systems and were in operation 24 hours-a-day most days of the week so there wasn't much time for "experimentation" but I did manage to create a few pieces back then using virtually the same techniques I still use today. The printing business underwent a huge and very rapid change in the early 1990's when desktop computers became powerful enough to do professional graphics work. I was at the forefront of what was called the "desktop revolution" at the time. This gave me access to early custom-built Apple Macs and the first versions of Adobe Photoshop. I also had access to the first large-format ink-jet printers called Iris. That's when my digital art experiments developed to a point where I began to print and show the pieces.
Now I've told you about some of my technology adventures but I haven't told you how I came to love abstraction. In 1978 I went to see a major retrospective of Mark Rothko at the Guggenheim in New York. It changed me. My parents had exposed me to a lot of commercial illustration, technical design and drafting. Not so surprisingly then, my favorite artists were M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali. Rothko's work was the antithesis of what I knew about art. It was powerful and moving. I immediately became a fan of the New York School abstract expressionists. Of course by then I was about thirty years too late for the AE party. But I was, and still am, a huge fan of those artists and their groundbreaking work.
My first experiments with abstract expressionism were drawings, pastels and paintings but it wasn't long before I began to visualize abstract art on the computer. While I worked on those ancient graphics systems I saw what looked like fragments and facsimiles of some of my favorite artist like Mondrian, Rothko, Diebenkorn and Newman on the screen. Actually, I was seeing highly enlarged graphic images on my screen all day long as I worked as a digital photo retoucher. But it looked very abstract and very interesting to me at the time. We're all used to seeing zoomed-up high-resolution images on our personal computers today but you'll have to take my word for it when I say it was quite novel in 1984. And it inspired me to explore how I might use the computer to create abstract expressionist art.
I found my muse in the computer. My fascination and experience with computers developed simultaneously with my fascination and experience with abstract art. The computer allows me to virtually draw, paint, draft and use photographic techniques all at once. It's fast and forgiving. It's clean, quiet and it doesn't' smell bad. I still love the tactile mediums as well, but as one of the early sons of the digital age I feel most free to express my vision with the tools I have grown accustomed to on the computer.
I morphed out of the printing business and into the Internet business when it started to gain popularity in the mid-90's. I've been leading Web design, development and marketing teams for over twenty years now. All the while I've been making art on my computers. I created my first personal website of art in 1998 and this is now my fifth major version. I've had a few solo and group exhibitions over the years and my images have been featured on the covers of several magazines and music CDs. In 2011 I created my first art book and produced another in 2013.
I live and work Minneapolis, MN. I'm married, have three grown children and I've been playing guitar for about as long as I've been making art.
Now you know :)