Thank you for visiting my website! It continues to be a work in progress so I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it along the way. I’ll begin this blog by sharing some of my background history…
I was born a sickly child with a laundry list of allergies. For years I had to see my pediatrician, a kind and insightful man who gradually built up my immune system with regular treatments. He often encouraged his little patients to draw something for him and we were rewarded with a lollipop 🙂 He apparently saw something in my sketches that stood out from the rest and encouraged my Mom to help me to keep it up! Art was in my blood from early on. Having to be isolated much like the bubble kid, crayons and coloring books were my friends… and I shamelessly admit to being one of those who did my best to color neatly INSIDE the lines lol! Attention to detail became an asset as I moved into the professional arena later in life. As I progressed through grade school, I was often the designated class artist designing bulletin boards, seasonal murals and event posters.
I remember my first sale was in the 6th grade, the year Mom put me in a neighborhood program that focused on the arts. For one of my projects, I painted a woman in tempera wearing a pink dress and she had an afro hair style with a widow’s peak. A man came into the workshop and was impressed with my painting saying it looked just like his mother! I offered to give it to him but he insisted on giving me $5 for it predicting that I’d be a serious artist one day. Definitely a boost to my morale. In the 7th grade I sold my next painting of a horse’s head for $15.. woohoo I was on my way lol! In high school I painted and sold black light posters which were very popular in the 70’s and was the team leader for prom decorating committees both Junior and Senior years. When it came time to decide about college, not being led to believe one could make a living from their art, I chose to go to FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. I had an interest in fashion design and thought it would be somewhat practical allowing me to be creative and ultimately earn an income. Well FIT was not a good fit for me. It would have been better had I majored in fashion illustration but the requirements of the school were not suitable to my free spirited nature. In the meantime, I was always drawing and painting as it was my passion. My path took a turn when I received a wrong number from the chairman of the film department at the School of Visual Arts. We ended up talking for over an hour about my interest in art! I was unemployed at the time so he suggested I become an artists’ model at SVA. I was a little reticent to pose nude but quickly got over it knowing it was for art’s sake and ended up working enough to pay my bills. Being in this environment everyday, often working from 9 am to 9 pm, I absorbed a lot of what the instructors were teaching while posing. I asked questions of those who inspired me and received positive critiques when I was brave enough to bring my art in for opinions. I also made some amazing friends who’ve lasted to this day. I connected with an illustration instructor who asked me to be his assistant. I felt it was a good opportunity so I curtailed modeling to focus on that and my art. I learned a lot about business as well as technique through this experience, stayed about 2 years til I felt it was time to go out on my own. I built up my portfolio with an emphasis on fantasy art while still doing small personal commissions along the way. It was during this time that I met well known artist Boris Vallejo whose work I admired a long time. We lived near each other in NY. He gave me some valuable pointers and I had occasion to model for some of his calendar work as well. I’ve been blessed to meet some wonderful people on my creative journey.
I learned about sci fi/fantasy conventions and started attending a few. In time I began to exhibit my art in these cons traveling from Boston to New Orleans. During one of my first visits to a comic con in NY, I met Michael Whelan. I brought a few of my originals to enter into a contest and was able to show them to him. He was very gracious and offered me a lot of encouragement, felt I had enough talent to make it in the industry. This happened on my birthday, I’ll never forget that. It meant a lot to receive such positive input from someone of his stature in the industry. I won the competition at that event too! Fast forward about a year, my first professional illustration gig was a dream come true! I was an avid collector of Heavy Metal Magazine, loved the artwork so I set up an interview and was given my 1st cover in 1985! That marked the beginning of my pro career. Subsequently I was commissioned for some book and album cover work which was great along with another Heavy Metal cover in ’91. Since then I’ve exhibited my art in galleries and such over time and have received favorable responses.
In ’04 I moved from NY to Orlando, FL where I was introduced to scenic work. I often wondered who was responsible for creating the colorful environments in amusement parks and how certain effects were achieved. I was looking for a change of pace and consistent income so I began working in the industry and continued to do so for the better part of 12 years mostly at Universal Studios and Disney. I learned a lot, it was exciting yet challenging at the same time. Unfortunately I sometimes found myself in environments where toxic elements were present and over time it became a problem to my health. In ’16 I had an asthma attack that literally killed me, flat-lined. It was clear I couldn’t work in those environments anymore. When I recovered, I moved to GA to be closer to family. I’ve been reconnecting with fine art ever since, back to what has always been my first passion. It’s been a long road from crayons til now with many more journeys to follow!