Craftsmanship is present in the genes on both sides of my family. My father is an electrical engineer whose family built a small, well-made house that still stands in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, just outside the city of Pittsburgh. My mother is a needle artist from Wales. These two rich histories have shaped my life as an artist. My earliest memories are embedded with the joy of creating; whether it was my mother’s needle work or my father’s integrated circuits, the value of creating worked it’s way into who I am today.
In 1988, I graduated with a BA from Pennsylvania State University. I received a liberal arts education with an emphasis in photography and art. With a mixture of art and science and the humanities, I was able to create a balance of traditions and influences that is reflected in my art.
I spent the first part of my development as an artist searching for perfect technique. I studied large format photography of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, used the finest grain films and finest lens to try to create images that were technically perfect. I found myself disappointed with most of what I created. In an attempt to find the emotion I was missing, I began to study the Impressionist painters. I found their approach to painting liberating. With an emphasis on the play of light, I took my “thinking mind” out of the image-making process and allowed my subconscious to make decision for me. It have been a 10 year process of trial and error… a process of self discovery.
Through out this journey of discovery, I also played drums for a number of small bands. Percussion became a means of expression. In 1992, I joined the St. Aloysius gospel choir in Washington DC as their percussionist. The nature of drumming for a gospel choir like St. Aloysius can be very improvisational. The choir has taught me I can find the spirit or soul in a creation when I let go of the controls. In 1998 , I helped Denyce Daniels produce the choir’s first cd “Use me Lord”. The experience showed me what hard work and a open heart and mind can create.
In 2002, I combined my love of image-making and drumming together to create a series of images called, Visual Rhythms. Visual Rhythms is an expression of all that I had learned about letting go, and rejoicing in the experience of creating. The images are multiple exposures on transparency film which I then printed on Ilfochrome material. It was a way of exploring the rhythms of color and shape in natural settings. The experience of photographing became a dance. Like a shaman, I would beat the rhythm out on my camera to ride to new places where images where created. The experience touched on a mystical love and excitement of nature and drumming. Visual Rhythms granted me my first opportunity to share my photography publicly. In 2003, I had a number of pieces in three shows including the 46th Chautauqua National Exhibition of American Art in Chautauqua, NY where I received the National Exhibition Margaret Zuegel Nature Photography Award. By June 2004, I had my first solo show at BoxHeart Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
From Visual Rhythms grew a new series called Visual Harmony. This series draws on the Rhythms series but adds a new part, just as creating a song might build as new instruments are added. Visual Harmony added harmony to the primitive rhythms of color and pattern in the Visual Rhythms Series, by combining a black and white negative with the rhythmic transparency, new and different images formed. The Visual Harmony series explores the idea that opposites when combined can create new and beautiful realities.
I still play drums for a gospel choir and I am currently working with digital imagery; creating new images and new rhythms and harmonies. I am also working on the third and last part of the Visual series. This part combines my love of image-making and the people with whom I have spent the last 17 years making music.