I grew up in a glorious period for comic books and cartoons. While immersed in the likes of X-Men, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Voltron, He-Man and Battle of the Planets, I studied Bible stories, consumed world history and studied mythology. What resulted from the amalgam was not inevitable, it just feels that way now. At first, I made pencil and black ink drawings of what I read and saw, and then I wrote and illustrated my own fantasy creations. Adding markers, airbrush and colored pencil birthed “mixed media.”
While I dabbled in portraits, animal drawings and the odd landscape (salutations, Bob Ross), comics and fantasy constituted the vast majority of my work. For a socially-awkward, self-conscious only child, part of my stability came from larger-than-life figures. Characters who lived without limits. They controlled dreams, influenced gravity and rode fire-breathing horses as their Egyptian, Roman and Zulu armor gleamed on their bodies. I created black and Native American characters: animating and “animating” certain segments of our society.
I am not sure if I made a conscious attempt to ground my work in more “realistic” themes, but in 2010 I painted my first oil portrait. My markers served me well over the years, but were inappropriate for that task. And, while I originally wanted to do a drawing, I embraced the challenge of oil. By 2010, I was not drawing that much, but I viewed that initial portrait (and subsequent paintings) as teaching myself to “draw with a paintbrush.” For me, oil is an evolutionary step from illustration (but not a replacement), with the added stimulation of the touch and smell of the medium.
2010 was also the year that I purchased my first “serious” camera. Much of my photography centers around “small details in our world.” After beginning with digital photography, I switched to film in mid-2013. Film is a contemplative, deliberate medium, which slows down my thinking, but speeds up my creative process. It is a corollary to my oil work, and I sometimes paint from my photographs. My oil and film work are like chess to me: I need to continue to learn how the pieces move, as I aspire to play the game with as much skill as I can muster.