Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am an artist based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Louisiana State University. Painting has been an obsession of mine for over thirty years.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I was fourteen when I became interested in art. By the time I was seventeen, I knew I wanted to do something with it career wise.
What do you like most about working where you do?
It rains a lot in Baton Rouge. I paint near a pair of french doors in my studio. I love hearing the rain when working. There are a lot of places to hike in South Louisiana. The swamps are quite lovely in the Spring. The frenetic energy of the environment inspires many of my recent works.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Right now, I’m thinking about movement and rhythm. I study fauna and flora in their natural habitats so that I can interpret their essence when working.
What is your process like?
I write thoughts, memories, observations, even poems in my journals and sketchbooks. Then, I visualize the imagery that evolved from those thoughts. At times, I will sketch from life, then improvise the imagery from them into works. I work spontaneously onto the canvas, sometimes beginning with a loose drawing, other times simply beginning by applying paint. The length of time it takes for me to complete the works vary from a half and hour to a year. I usually have a dozen works that I’m working on. Motion, evolution, animism, the flow to elements are among themes that I’ve been working with.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Italian Futurism. I’ve also been inspired by Modernists like Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keefe. I’m a huge fan of Martin Johnson Heade’s paintings. Over the last few years, I’ve been influenced by Marc Chagall, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Susan Rothenberg, Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko. I also love the works of Richard Serra and his powerful use of space with his monolithic works.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
When I was in college, I created an elaborate installation piece. It involved my collecting as many beer bottles and caps that I can find. Needless to say, it wasn’t difficult to find people who were willing to help.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I teach very talented young students. Teaching and making art is a very good combination for me, since I enjoy both.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
No mentors right now, though many wonderful artists have inspired me throughout the years. One of my professors from grad school would say, “Just roll with it.” Good advice.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Just paint. Don’t think to much about it. Just do it.
What is your studio like?
The studio is part of a den in my house. I keep it well organized. It functions. One day, I hope to get a better space. Sometimes, I use my garage to throw paint during the cooler months.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I like to listen to rock and blues when working.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
I was taught by a very talented faculty in college. My years in grad school transformed me into a more concept based abstract artist and finding my niche in art. There are benefits to not pursuing advanced degrees in art. Artists who are not formally trained often exhibit more ‘raw’ style of art making. I think, it really depends on the artist on whether one should pursue a degree or not in the arts.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Too many ideas to explore! There’s not enough time to create everything I can think of.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
I had the opportunity to go to Sedona, Arizona several years ago for an Artist residency. The beautiful colors of the desert and working with very talented creative people from all over the world, greatly changed my perspective on life and making art. After visiting the incredible variegated terrain there, the exploration of color and space with regards to painting became paramount at that point.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I’m a member of Baton Rouge Gallery, that used to be an artist run space but it’s now a community gallery in Baton Rouge, LA. We artists there work closely with the gallery director in terms of selecting new artists and orchestrating exhibitions. I’m also included in the Art File Gallery with The Painting Center, which is an artist-run space.
What are you working on right now?
All sorts of projects, large and small involving mixed media, acrylic and oil.
Anything else you would like to add?
Art is an imprint of celebrating life, acknowledging death and realizing the moments between them.