When did you start doing sculpture?
In 1996 I had been working as a hospice nurse and discovered that playing with clay after working with dying people was a very sanity saving break. Then I started doing it full-time three years later when I realized I was the same age as my dad when he died. Before I made that transition from doing it just for fun to trying to support myself I had had the possible misfortune of selling some of my pieces already so had the possible illusion that I could make my living this way. I had reached a point in my life where it felt like it was time to live out my dream which somehow no longer included being a nurse and that was it! No looking back.
How did you get to doing this particular kind of stuff?
I started taking ceramics classes at the junior college where I had wonderful teachers (Kathryn Mcbride and Gayle Richtey at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA). They introduced me to the love of hand building and the Indian pottery techniques from the southwest: Pit fire!
What is pit fire?
Pit fire is where you dig a hole in the ground and get these beautiful colors using arcane combinations of ingredients such as seaweed, exotic sawdust and cow dung. Bisked (prefired ceramic) pieces are placed for 24 hours to bake in the coals. At the end, after a sleepless night filled with hopeful expectation and waiting, comes the cherished moment to gently dig through the ash and burnt embers to see what treasures or trash may result. With good fortune maybe half the pieces will come out beautifully. For many others the colors are just blaahhhh! or the pieces have been fractured by the shocking forces required.
Tell me more about how you came to be doing life form sculpture.
At first I fell in love with tile making and the freedom it gave me to recreate fossil imitations, petroglyphs and other kinds of fun stuff. I gave a real year to making stepping stones and other tiles with relief sculpture. Even though the stepping stones didnt become the source of support I was hoping for they did pave the path to my new direction of my present endeavor of making life-size sculptures. This really came out of a playful experiment I did with my mate Ms.Tanya. We made a plaster cast which I then used to rebuild her torso. Each time the torso was embedded with petroglyphs, cave paintings and cliff dwellings or a village of some sort. These got an immediate response from people interested in buying my pieces. It was great.
The rest is history.. (he says with a laugh).