- B.F.A., University of Illinios, Urbana-Champaign
- M.F.A., Ohio University, Athens
Most of what I encounter on a given day provides potential inspiration for my work. Fleeting moments of conversation, a given hand gesture used by a close friend, a proverb, a character in a novel, or a simple detail in a painting can inspire an idea. Some works are inspired by moments so mundane or personal that I decline to share the idea's origin with my audience. When an experience or memory transforms into something more permanent, such as a sketch or drawing, the creative process takes hold.
A sketchbook, filled with drawings and scribbled notes, accompanies my hands and mind through the more physical stages of making figurative sculptures with clay. Porcelain and stoneware respond with immediacy, an ideal fit to capture the recorded essence of a sketch. In both the drawings and finished sculptures, animal and human features meld together to develop specific meaning, symbolism, and psychological impact. This combination also allows for greater freedom in the creative process.
My artistic output consists largely of portraits: friends, community members, legendary people in history, or fictional characters inspired by literature and art. I seek to reveal the vulnerable and pathetic side of the human condition as well as the heroic and beautiful. "The Deliberator" takes inspiration from a character in a Honoré Daumier print. Lately my work has developed towards more literal human representation with less fantastic or imaginary detail. "The Novaks" represent a stereotyped married couple; the gregarious woman and her quiet natured husband behave the way I think they would in the presence of company.
I am particularly influenced by my surroundings when I create work. “Adam a Eve” (Adam and Eve) evolved during an autumn residency in 2001 at the Agency of Czech Ceramic Design in Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic. This small city in South Bohemia contains centuries of magnificent art and architecture, all wonderfully preserved and protected through UNESCO. Empty niches, whose religious sculptures fell to decay or theft, inspired a series of biblically themed works. A larger version of "Adam a Eve" resides in Krumlov on a special platform near the entrance of the Agency's meeting hall. I am particularly happy to see my work develop into an architectural context. I just completed another stay at the Agency where new works were created in response to scribbled drawings and notes contained on a napkin from my first evening out, a catalog of my impressions from the day. This napkin served as a noteworthy guide in the studio, with many small details from the drawings preserved in the final works. Other monentary influences also affect the final sculptural outcome, such as the clay body at hand or new thoughts about the character in progress. The heavily grogged stoneware available in Krumlov contributes to the particularly gritty nature of the "Der Burgermeister" (the mayor), "Der Arbeiter" (the worker), and "The Immigrant."