Trained as an artist, earning a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin in 1977, I was experiencing success in having my work exhibited in significant national shows and selling. I spent some time in New York City at New York University working on a series of drawings under the mentorship of fellow artist Don Eddy. During that time we became friends.
My career was derailed early by events that required a shift in priority to provide the kind of support that having a developmentally disabled child requires. Over the years that commitment to parenting created a shift farther away from time in the studio and seeking employment in other areas. My creative abilities enabled me to move into the emerging personal computing industry in the late 70s as an entrepreneur and co-founding a small tech business focused on disk drives that I ran for 13 years until I encountered another seismic shift when climbing Mount Rainier and gaining the perspective that comes from simplifying my day into a focus on the placement of each step and my rope team’s collective safety. Coming off the mountain after a successful summit also brought a clear understanding that I needed to take my current skill set in high tech manufacturing and see if I could work with kids to help them enter the workforce. I created some curriculum ideas and shopped the concepts to local school districts, getting hired in my home district in Gig Harbor
I spent 6 years as an alternative high school teacher delivering a manufacturing technology curriculum that provided a real-world perspective for my students, many of whom are now thriving in this vibrant industry. During these years, I was contacted a few times by companies asking if I was interested in coming to work for them. In 1998 I accepted a job in program management at Microsoft where I continue to work today. Along that path I have co-authored 13 patents, 9 of which have been granted so far and delivered features that are in use by over a billion people, built tools for developers to assist them in creating multilingual apps, and served as the Microsoft representative to the W3C Internationalization Workgroup.
Around 2011, I reconnected with artist Don Eddy on Facebook after decades of sporadic contact. That connection reignited the artist in me who had been pushed aside so long ago sparking a new series of conversations between us and a renewed passion to make art. And then another major disruption happened in July of that year when I tangled with a John Deere track loader on the side of an Olympic mountain and experienced a near-fatal crush injury to my right foot. Following a self extraction and ultimate rescue chopper flight to Harborview Medical Center, and 7 surgeries to rebuild the mess into what was hoped to be a durable appendage, I started on the long path to recovery. This effort and the time invested in it pealed away a lot of the activities and momentum that I had been wrapped up in, leaving a purer, simplified understanding that I needed to make art. Period.
in March of 2014 my wife, Connie, and I travelled to New York City where we met with Don Eddy and Leigh Behnke. This was the first physical meeting since saying goodbye in 1977 and in many ways felt like we were just picking up where we left off so long ago. Time in their loft, a dinner, and then attending the opening of his exhibit “Two Realms” at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in Chelsea served to cement my need, or compulsion to make art as part of the daily fabric of my being. This has driven me to a deep introspection about what my work is about. I have been reconnecting with the early work and photography and thinking about where I was, where I am and where I want to go creatively.
Today I am completing a wonderful studio space on our property in Gig Harbor, Washington where I will be able to spend my time reunited with canvas and paint, a thing that makes me very excited! Meanwhile, I use my cameras to capture the world and do some drawing in graphite and color pencil. I have returned to exhibiting my work and have seen it accepted into a number of national shows. My mission is to create art, to simplify the number of activities in life to make more time in the studio and create the portfolio that is pent up inside me.
I am no longer an artist interrupted.