Born 1972 in Meridian, Mississippi. Grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. B. A. in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education from Brevard College, NC. Currently live and work in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.
I grew up drawing, reading, and digging in the dirt. A consuming passion was skateboarding, in the early eighties. Lasting passions are wood, buildings, old stuff, nature, and history. From 1989 to 2005 I was mostly feral: building a primitive cabin in the North Carolina mountains, drifting around the margins of the country, working itinerantly, living in my truck, and somehow earning a degree. For ten of those years I was devoted to rock and mountain climbing, river and ocean travel, and working as a wilderness educator.
I moved to Chattanooga in 2005 for graduate work, met my wife, remodeled a house, and experienced a serious loss of direction. While convalescing from surgery near my 40th birthday, I began drawing in earnest, then painting with some vintage oils I found in my grandfather's barn. Suddenly, the urge to paint felt like a physical necessity, as if a missing limb had suddenly been found.
With no training, I resolved to move paint around using intuition and exploration. An expanding repertoire of clunky techniques evolved as a result. A period of unfettered ignorance gave me time to study the behavior of the materials and build confidence. My goals have not changed much: to stay interested, and follow the work where it leads rather than orchestrating an artistic identity or style. I've slowly integrated formal instruction as necessary, no longer worried that it might turn genuine impulses cloudy, or worse, stall the urge to create. There's too much "have to" in adulthood anyway. Painting is among the few utter freedoms.
With some exceptions, I work with unplanned gestures and layers, until I see something compelling, and proceed work within an increasingly narrowing range of choices. Sometimes figurative elements appear and I work with them. The fuzzy boundaries between abstraction, surrealism and figuration is what fires me up. Impulse and instinct give rise to the most exciting images.. My goal is for each piece to have a presence, to hold its own. Meaning is irrelevant while work is under way, where state of mind prevails, hence, there's inherent meaning in the work. Crudely rendered composites of inner-state or worldview, or the unconscious manifesting itself? Who knows.
A career shift of this nature in mid-life is serious stuff. My wife and family have been incredibly loyal and supportive, and without them I would be adrift. My appreciation goes to them, endlessly. I also want to credit North Light Imaging here in Chattanooga for spot-on, timely reproduction of the paintings.