"I have not yet in all my wanderings found a single person so free as myself. Yet I am bound to my studies, and the laws of my own life. When in the woods I sit at times for hours watching birds or squirrels or looking down into the faces of flowers without suffering any feeling of haste. Yet I am swept onward in a general current that bears on irresistibly."
John Muir, 1838-1914
Although born in Texas, I grew up in two suburbs of Chicago. My creativity and ability to research and present information emerged early on, and I benefitted from attending two small grade schools and one very large high school, where these skills were given the opportunity to see the light of day – and be graded.
A family vacation during high school included tours of the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Combined with ongoing drafting classes, a fire was lit inside me, and for all intents and purposes, I became an architect. I did not play baseball with the neighbors – I designed houses, using pencil, bic pen, ruler, and poster board. The die was cast and although my fantasy collided with calculus and physics classes at Iowa State University, I enjoyed a non-traditional career with two large architectural firms, in offices from Chicago to LA to San Francisco. Their size and flexibility gave me plenty of opportunity to explore my interests and skills, ranging from building models and designing hospital bathrooms to writing marketing proposals and directing the creation of brochures and party invitations.
The Chicago firm was directly across the street from the Art Institute, and I spent hours there. An entire wall was devoted to Joseph Cornell’s meticulously worn boxes, and another, to Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I absorbed a lot, without ever having to take art history classes. Much later, during a midlife transition, I encountered the work of artists like Jess Collins, Achilles Rizzoli, Henry Darger, and others whose work might be classified as Outsider Art. It is fair to say I belong to this group, but the art is inside me, and that is what matters most.
Photography using a film camera is an ongoing thread of my existence. My parents gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera in 6th grade, and I used it into high school, producing square images of family vacations and school outings. In college, I borrowed my dad’s brick like 1950’s Argus C3 rangefinder. Although labor intensive, it produced startlingly clear slides, which I began to digitize a few years ago. The Nikon FG I use today was purchased in 1983, and while Nikon zoom and macro lenses may see things differently than my eyes, we and color and black-and-white film are good collaborators.
I am an observer of light, and drawn to urban street scenes, shadows, architectural elements, graphics, and window displays. I like to see, stop, stand and shoot.
Family History & Genealogy
I am a family historian and have documented parts of my European ancestry back more than 1,000 years. The Emperor Charlemagne is a great grandfather, as are Vikings, knights and jarls - and many, many farmers. Beginning my research coincided with a life transition, and was focused on how the skills of direct ancestors are manifested in me. It fueled and validated my creativity, as their occupations include, among others, carpenter, marble worker, accountant, pastor, furniture manufacturer, architect, electrician, and luggage, shoe and tool maker. Their voices speak through my creative projects.
Much of my family tree, including the examples below, can be found on the website: geni.com
Lutheran Bishop 10th Great Grandfather
Sheriff and Customs Officer 9th Great Grandfather
Pastor, Mayor and Historian 3rd Great Grandfather
Master Shoemaker, City Councilman 3rd Great Grandfather
Architect, Carpenter and Builder 2nd Great Grandfather
Furniture Manufacturer and Patent Holder Great Grandfather
Luggage and Tool Maker Grandfather
My career is neatly divided into jobs with two large architectural firms and several non-profits. For the former, I morphed from being an apprentice architect to marketer, along the way combining my visual sense with an ability to research, organize and present information. My skills transferred easily to marketing and fundraising roles for three musical organizations, one museum and two social services agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Anniversary and Group Shows
Live Worms Gallery, 2021
Mills Building Tenant Art Show
Arts Benicia Fragments: The Art of Collage & Assemblage
Hand Bookbinders of California Members Shows
Winner for Design Direction
Society for Marketing Professional Services, 1988-1993
Essay Hit & Myth in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco Chronicle, 2006
Architectural Drawing in New Chicago Architecture
Rizzoli International, 1981
Family History Book Long Distance Reflections
Cornell Museum of Glass Library