I was born in South Bend, Indiana and was raised in Kentucky. I am the son of a coal miner and a homemaker, and they encouraged me to go to college and seek my own way. I felt pressured to be a business major and to work with my hands, so I compromised by seeking a graphic design degree while taking as many painting and drawing classes as possible, plus I felt the need to get a philosophy minor. Although I worked under some Logical Positivist philosophy professors, I came out of the program with a more Existentialist world view. Sartre and Camus were my main focus and my paintings and pastels were based on my emotional responses to my friends and surroundings. A Picasso and then a Matisse show at High Museum in Atlanta were great influences on my early work.
I developed a romantic notion that art was about the pure expression of an artist's emotional response. But little things started to chip away at my romantic ideals through the exposure of Post-Modern philosophers like Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. I also was exposed to artists like Allen Kaprow and Joseph Kosuth in the last contemporary art criticism class I took at Western Kentucky. Brent Oglesbee is the one professor at WKU that really pushed me to excel at making art. Although Oglesbee had his MFA in ceramics and taught sculpture, I learned from him to follow through on processes and to follow a line of reasoning when making art.
After completing my BFA I spent about two years in Philadelphia. While there, I started to read a variety of fiction from the beat generation and some new contemporary fiction. Then I moved to Dallas, and Texas is where everything changed about me and my art. I left my art based on emotional content in favor of a conceptual, intellectual bent. I helped to foster that slant through seeking an MA in Arts and Humanities at UTD. There I met several professors who helped me develop my ideas, but one, in particular, helped to reinvent my approach. John Pomara is the professor that reminded me that I had rejected the tools of graphic design and those tools were going to waste. I started to incorporate computer-based art into my work along the lines of Derrida's deconstructing text theories.
Then I traveled to NYC for a week to see the Armoury show. Seeing all that work presented in such a professional setting, the art fair inspired me to use industrial printers and materials.
Finally, I felt ready to seek my MFA and I applied to only one school, the University of North Texas. I had my eye on the university for a long time, so I only wanted UNT. Vincent Falsetta and Annette Lawrence were the two artists that I really wanted to work with, but once I found myself in the program, I found that all the painting and drawing professors were very helpful to develop my ideas, style, and work ethic. When I came to the end of my MFA program I had the epiphany that my work was directly linked to my problems with dyslexia.
Words have always posed a challenge for me to understand because words partly act as a space between an object and meaning. That tension has been inspiring me to build these images from words.
2010 MFA in Drawing and Painting, University of North Texas
2006 MA in Arts and Humanities, the University of Texas at Dallas
1998 BFA in Graphic Design, Western Kentucky University
2019 Art on Henderson Pop Up Gallery with Richard T. Skurla, Dallas, TX
2019 Art Teachers at FWCAC, Fort Worth, TX
2019 Ink Well at FWCAC, Fort Worth, TX
2018 Art on Henderson Pop Up Gallery with David G. Smith, Dallas, TX
2018 BMC Design, Austin, TX
2015 FAMILY TIES BROOKLYN/DALLAS at 500X, Dallas, TX
2019 Marshall Visual Art Center, Marshall, TX
2018 University of Maine at Presque Isle, ME
2015 Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, TX
2013 Croft Gallery, Waco, TX
2013 Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
2010 Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, TX
2010 ‘Words, words, words...’ MFA Thesis Show, 500X, Dallas, TX
2009 Mod Shop Gallery, ink on paper and digital prints, Dallas, TX
2006 Neo-Portraits, Mitchell Loft Gallery, digital portraits, Dallas, TX
2006 Pigeon-Stone Project, Continental Gallery, digital portraits and ink on paper, Dallas, TX
2006 Signatures in Color and B&W, Janette Kennedy Gallery, digital portraits and oil paintings, Dallas, TX 2006 Faces, Austin Local Color Gallery, pastel on paper, Austin, TX
2003 Paintings and Pastels, Dawson Springs Museum, Dawson Springs, KY 2002 A New Way of Seeing, Glema Marh Art Center, Madisonville, KY 1999 Pastel Figures, Chamber of Commerce, Bowling Green, KY