My inspiration can come from almost anything. Over the years I have been inspired to create my narrative pieces by a tin image I’ve seen or by a phrase I might hear. The thrill I get from my work is from seeing my idea realized. I come up with an idea, collect the tin from various sources, and then realize my idea through planning, cutting, and reassembling the images I’ve collected or created.
I use visual hooks to capture the attention of the viewer. These hooks include colors, subject matter, and small surprises for the viewer to discover. My highest hope is that when people view my work, they will find some element that engages and affects them.
I started working with tin 19 years ago. During a trip to New Mexico I saw various examples of tin art from the 1840’s to the present day. I discovered wonderful hand-stamped tin artworks housing lights or saints. During that same trip I discovered artists, who were using up-cycled tin containers in their work. I decided to try to combine the hand-stamped tin with the up-cycled tin art work that I was seeing. I am largely self taught, experimenting and learning on the fly.
I grew up in suburban Northern California, where as a small child the only art I saw being created was on the chalk-smeared sidewalks. As I entered my teens, I started making model cars and was introduced to hot rod culture and Mad Magazine. Big Daddy Ed Roth and illustrator Don Martin were inspirational; I used both artists’ styles and began making t-shirt designs for kids in the neighborhood.
I graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz in my early twenties, and then travelled to Europe and from there to the Far East. I observed the colors, the architecture, and the patterns of other cultures, savoring and devouring the influences around me. After a year of travel I decided to settle down in the Netherlands, where I lived for about three years.
During my stay in the Netherlands, I was part of a family that had two practicing artists and two who did art in their spare time. I had never been exposed to working artists, I had never considered art as a career choice, and I didn’t have time to think about it, because I had to find a job. I was a Guest Worker and I had rudimentary Dutch language skills, so the only job I could find was manual labor. I took a job loading and unloading airplanes at the airport outside Amsterdam. I also visited the local museums and learned about the history and art of the Dutch people, but my energy was largely absorbed by my job at the airport. I was too tired to even think about becoming an artist.
There came a time when I realized that I missed the place where I had spent my youth and I returned to California. During the following years I worked as a Park Ranger, a Park Supervisor, and then a Parks Manager. I learned to direct tasks and get work done through others. However, I felt that I needed more of a creative outlet, something that I could control from start to finish, and I started working in low fire ceramic sculpture. I switched to tin collage about 19 years ago. Once I started with tin, I knew that I had finally found my passion.
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