Visual Artist: Painting
I went to high school at Brecksville High and majored in art, but my interest in art goes back to my fourth grade art teacher, Mr. Schraff, who always encouraged me to draw. After high school I was accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Art. I double majored in Drawing and Printmaking and studied under such great artists as Edwin Mieczkowski, Carroll Cassell, Jose Cintron and Paulo Pelosini. Of those instructors, I was most influenced by the late Ed Mieczkowski. Ed taught me how to work in series, and the importance of developing an idea and seeing it through to its conclusion. At the time I was under his tutelage, he was busy making his own art, which was primarily painted wood constructions. He hired my as an apprentice and I was able to help him with things such as cutting the wood on a band saw, and basic construction. Much of the work I do today is directly related to my time spent with Ed.
After I left the Institute, I got a full time job working for the City of Brecksville Service Department. Soon after, I was married and had two children to support. I attended one year of night school at The University of Akron majoring in Graphic Design. My thinking was that I could make more money in that field than in the Fine Arts, but I was unsatisfied with the possible prospect of ending up designing packaging for everyday items, (or some such kind of work, which just didn’t seem satisfying to me), so I resigned myself to the fact that I would be a city worker for the next thirty years and get a pension. During that time, I never lost sight of wanting to be a serious artist, but I could never find the time or motivation to dedicate myself to that prospect. I did do a few landscape paintings in watercolor and acrylic, and painted portraits of my grandchildren and dogs, but I always knew that someday I would get back to the creative “me” that I had left behind at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Now I am retired and have the time to create art again, and I plan to make the most of it, with whatever time God grants me left on this earth.
My current work may be best described as mixed media constructions. I start with wood, usually plywood cut to shapes, or sometimes square or rectangular, and build a frame behind it. The wood is painted or stained. I then attach shaped pieces of black poster board with small nails. Homemade paper of various colors is then glued to the poster board. (Making the paper is one of my favorite parts of the process.) Strips of wood or poster board are then nailed in an arranged way, sometimes to look random, sometimes more geometric, and oftentimes extending beyond the borders of the piece. Then I take photographs of different things I see in nature such as tree bark, gravel, wood chips, leaves, and the sky, usually while walking through the Metropark. Those photos are altered on the computer for color and cropping, printed out on standard copy paper, and then cut in strips. Those strips are then glued down to the wood strips in an interesting way, and then all the photo areas are brushed with epoxy resin to seal them. My current pieces are an observation of the ever-present relationship of hard edge things like poles, fences, buildings, signs, etc., represented by the straight lines of the wood stripping, and the beauty of nature as seen in the photographic element of the works. Future works will continue with this theme, but I plan to incorporate more “found” wood and even let the pieces get bigger, exploring more of the idea of going beyond the boundaries of conventional rectangular pieces.