I derive satisfaction from creating something uniquely mine, which is the only reason I need. So much bullshit is spread about art that I find it embarrassing to refer to myself as an artist. My hope is that I am communicating with the viewer/reader in words and/or pictures that are interesting and thought-provoking, provide an insight, or provoke a grin or a nod of recognition, or touch you in some way. Above all, I want to evoke a pleasure response in the reader/viewer.
It's only been since we entered the age of mass media, especially since the internet, that artists of all kinds have been expected to explain themselves, their past and their art. I'm uncomfortable talking about what I do and what it's "about," since the work has to stand alone if anyone's to care about the creator anyway. If you don't like what I do, why would you care about me?
For what it's worth, words have always come easily to me. I fell in love with language by being read to as a pre-schooler. My mother wasn’t very affectionate, so the only time my brother and I could get close to her was by snuggling with her when she read to us, mostly Disney comic books. I learned to read by watching over my mother’s shoulder as she pointed to the words. The connection between stories and pictures and the warmth and security I was feeling were firmly established in my subconscious before I was five years old. As I grew older, I became increasingly interested in framing striking images that seem to pop out of their surroundings, and in putting complex thoughts into the fewest possible words. These interests cross and combine in my phoems.
I wrote science fiction stories in my early teens, poetry in my late teens, and went on to study theatre, television production, playwriting and screenwriting in college. After a couple of years trying to get my early plays produced in L.A.’s little theatre district (nearly succeeding but twice being cut from production schedules for mostly economic reasons), I turned my writing skills to earning a living by producing and directing educational films for the Orange County Dept. of Education, then for private companies.
When being trapped in a bureaucracy became intolerable, I followed the example of my best friend and earned my Juris Doctorate at Western State College of Law in Fullerton. In the early 90’s, only a couple of years after passing the bar, I moved with my wife and infant daughter to Santa Maria, where I practiced until my recent retirement.
I found my first single-lens reflex camera in the mud of a base camp while serving as a Military Policeman in South Viet-Nam. After I was unable to find the owner, I began taking pictures with it, finding myself more interested in the macro view of the world. For example, I remember taking black and white stills of flowers backlit by the lights of the POW cage we guarded. Design and composition attacted me more than the actual subject matter, and I liked photos that conveyed a sense of mystery.
Outside of being in love, I’ve always had difficulty feeling connected to people. Creating a piece of art is like putting a piece of yourself into a permanent form, showing a small facet of yourself to the world, hoping you’ll connect in a small way with people of like mind.
Most of the images I capture are unstaged. Our primary method of observation is through our eyesight, but we express ourselves primarily through words. Overlapping photography with poetry connects what we see with the way we think (verbally), which allows me to play with multiple levels of meaning in two different media at the same time.
Writing science fiction springs from my endless speculation about what the future will be like. I stick to the near future because the pace of scientific and technological change is so rapid that imagining life more than 50 years from now becomes more fantasy than science fiction.