INDIVIDUAL - SCAD ID - #404
From my earliest days I was always drawing. The chronically doodling kid in class letting my imagination run with comic type figures, gestures and movement. As an older student, I started to visually capture the surfing and skateboarding culture. When I started college with plans to be a graphic designer, I was turned off by the fact that all the creativity was virtual and via computer screens. I craved using my hands creatively as I’m a carpenter at heart. My love of music initially led me down a different artistic path and perhaps it’s no wonder that I ended up being (and still am) a drummer in an indie rock band. Over the last two decades, as a touring musician, I used my downtime to create art. Art became a form of therapy and expression for me. For example, I created a piece that depicted a person split down the middle with two children inside. It is interesting to see how friends interpret my art and see it differently. Through them I realize that my art illuminates parts of me that I might not have not acknowledged otherwise. In the split person piece, I now realize I was depicting my dual life of a touring musician, father and husband. I have come to understand my art created on tour on a different level. It’s a visual journal where each piece is correlated to the hotel room in which it was created.
When I was a child, my illustrator heroes were Shell Silverstein and Maurice Sendak because I loved their wildly imaginative line drawings. Their quirky yet seemingly simple line drawings drew me in. I found a way to weave art into every and any school project that I could. During my early high school years my art teacher made a big impression upon me. She was younger than most of my other teachers and she had a unique ability to harness the ‘typically uninterested’ students, those on the fringes. She encouraged them to draw from memory. For example, she might ask us to draw a bicycle from memory. When you follow this approach it frees a person from the self-critical, self-defeating and inhibiting, “I’m not an artist” syndrome. The result is a person who is better able to reveal their own unique style. Although the imagined bicycle may be ‘imperfect’ such as missing parts or not road worthy, it is way more interesting to view than the image that was accurately and perfectly drawn. This was a great example of the type of freeing and opening exercise that this high school teacher would elicit. As young adolescents, this artistically freeing experience was not only remarkable but it was transformative. Soon after, I came to realize that whatever subject matter a person tries to capture, it’s ultimately subjective. It is the artist and their interpretation that makes the art interesting. Art is a form of freedom. I feel motivated to help others overcome their own artistic inhibitions so that they can experience the unleashing of their personal style of expression also. When you’re able to encourage creative risk taking in others, there’s little space for worrying about art being ‘perfect.’ I believe art has a vital purpose to build self-awareness and community. When you create and observe art, it brings out feelings for both the creator and the viewer. There is no wrong or right way to create or perceive.