Cincinnati, Ohio, 1962
Some of my earliest memories are of creating things (toys, games etc,)
and I've also always been fascinated with anything mechanical, often
taking household items apart, much to my parents' disapproval. I took
art classes in high school and I went to college for Industrial Design.
Before becoming a full-time artist in 2000, my professional work consisted
of making props, models and miniatures for television commercials, still
photographers, and movies. I created things that couldn't be found anywhere
else. These included a 5-foot ping pong paddle for a Japanese television
show, miniature laser printers for a magazine ad and marionettes for
TNT's "Rudy and Go-Go's World Famous Cartoon Show." I attribute my skill
at aging partially to the experience I gained working on the John Sayles'
movies, Eight Men Out and City of Hope.
Although some see my work as a reaction to today’s throwaway society, I approach it as a way to reconnect with the past. I cherish traditions, not trends. I love the old ways of doing things, old tools and traditional techniques. Working with one’s hands still has value. I believe there is a magical transformation that happens when mechanical movement is added to a static figure. This movement captures a viewer’s attention and holds it to the point where they are drawn into interpreting the stories the piece conveys. They are not merely observers but collaborators.
My heroes have always been the pioneers, the inventors – Edison, Bell, the Wright Brothers – in the art world, the innovators – Calder, Picasso, Tinguely. The great Leonardo DaVinci, who did it all - painter, sculptor, scientist, engineer, and architect –was who I wanted to be when I grew up. Having never wanted to be pigeonholed as an artist, I’ve sought to do unique works that combined many varied methods. Initially, I started with woodcarving - practically a lost art in our world - a tradition people have been using for centuries to tell their stories.
Any kind of mechanical movement has always been a fascination of mine and to combine this with figurative carvings became irresistibly compelling. After some time I learned about automata, “a moving mechanical device made in imitation of a human being”, an ancient pursuit more thoroughly developed in the 13th – 19th centuries mostly in Europe but also in Asia. The work I create today is a modern offshoot of the time-honored European tradition of automata.
With the addition of collected found objects another connection is made, albeit to a more recent past. I search out and collect, as an archivist or archeologist, discarded, obsolete artifacts and breathe new life into them as they are remodeled into devices that help tell my stories. Stories that often illustrate man’s perseverance to overcome life’s obstacles, often with open-ended narratives that are completed by the viewer.