:: I was a bartender for 30 years but I wanted to be an artist all my life. One day in midlife, I took a leap of faith toward my dream. I cut back to part-time, withdrew my savings, and entered art school. I earned my BFA, Magna Cum Laude, and was Co-Valedictorian of my graduating class, one of only a handful of minority students at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota. I received my MFA from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, with a focus on drawing and painting, public art and teaching. In 2009, I joined the faculty of Clark University in Worcester Massachusetts as an Assistant Professor of Studio Art. I teach Beginning and Advanced Drawing and Painting, Studio Topics and Senior Thesis seminars. I was awarded the Edward Hodgkins Junior Faculty of the Year Prize in 2011 for meritorious contributions in creative practice, teaching and service ::
:: I was born in 1956 on the south side of Chicago near an el train station and raised in Minneapolis, a few blocks from a small creek that flows into the Mississippi River. My life and my artwork is a synthesis of disparate influences. My father, born in the delta region of Mississippi, was a descendent of African slaves, slave owners, and Cherokee Indians. As a young man, he followed the river north and often recounted stories about the jazz musicians he met along the way.
My mother, a Minnesota native and child of German immigrants, was a self-taught naturalist and instilled in me a love of the prairie landscape. Among my favorite childhood memories are the times spent scat singing Louis Armstrong songs with my father and burying seeds in the garden with my mother. My parent's ability to bridge their contrasting natures and cultural differences has always inspired me. Revisiting these influences informs the major themes in my work the connections between otherness and familiarity, dissonance and beauty, hybridity and improvisation ::
"Art is a quest for understanding about how the world works rather than perpetuating the norm of right and wrong or mere decoration"
artist, colleague and friend