How Did I Get Here?
EDUCATION and LIFE
I am an artist at heart and, though I tried many times to earn my living in "normal" ways, I was always drawn back in to the art world where I feel normal. My education in art began with an art teacher in High School who encouraged me to enter my art in a State run contest; I won my first merit award. That small encouragement led me to North Hennepin Community College where I received a AAS degree in Commercial Art. Unfortunately, the emphasis in creating art as quickly as possible under as much stress as possible (to educate us on what the field is really like I guess.) was a complete turn off and I did not pursue any work. In a few years, I ended up back in school with an interest in video production. I received a certificate from Minneapolis Technical Institute and worked in several positions in television production. That was kind of fun but it was a really hard way to make a living and I didn't find any creative freedom in the work I was doing. After a few years of looking for jobs that paid well, I found myself in registered at UMD in Duluth, Minnesota. I was planning on being a teacher at first, and then I entered the architecture program but neither of these fields really spoke to me. I was caught up in the "find the money" game that's so important in our corporate culture. When I finally decided to listen to my heart, I found myself in the Fine Art program. I had some great teachers and thrived in classes that let me explore without boundaries. And, where there were boundaries, I pushed them as much as I could. While working on my Bachelors degree, I started dabbling in buying and selling antiques and collectibles. There was another job in Public Access Television but, eventually, I would be making a good living in the antiques business and I thought this was it for me. My art took a back seat and I put my creative energy into my own business. A few more years zipped by and while I had a thriving business that included running a flea market, I started feeling trapped and decided to move back to be closer to my family and friends in Minneapolis. I found a house in Spring Valley Wisconsin (because I wasn't ready to dive back into city life), I met my future wife Amy and pulled her out of the city to live my small town life. This was just before the big crash following 9/11 and when the antique market was no longer an easy way to make a living. As my business was failing, we moved to Bay City, WI where we found a community of wonderful people and a great old homestead that we worked very hard to restore and make our own. Amy was making and selling beaded jewelry and I started making some hand crafted items out of repurposed materials. Once again, the Universe was correcting the path I was on and I soon found myself making jewelry with my wife. Our jewelry combined her beading expertise with my passion for repurposing found objects. The pieces we were making got better and more elaborate and we started getting into some of the best art fairs around the country. We worked together for about six years and I found myself pushing to do better work and also started working with larger things to make displays and, finally, light fixtures and other sculptural objects. I should mention that I also had a business in renovation work prior to the jewelry business. This kept me going in the off seasons and, occasionally, I had the opportunity to make custom light fixtures. Amy and I found we were on different paths and I went on my own with the renovation projects. I am now, finally, finding myself working as an artist more than anything else. I'm not much of a planner and, even if I were, I don't think I could have imagined a more twisted journey. Life is funny that way.
My gallery is part of my home. I use my front rooms to exhibit the pieces and they appear throughout the house when I have a large inventory. My near future goal is to restore a small barn on my property and convert it into a really unique gallery. I intend to fill the space with my own work as well as that of other artists that will compliment the exhibits.