Why I am an Artist (Artist's Statement)

 

I locked myself in my room and painted.  I was 16 years old and had wrecked the family car nearly killing myself and 5 other innocents.  Fear, immortality, elation.

 

The child was held out to me in what should be desperation.  He was not to be born this early.  I am confident of that.  Listening with my dirty stethoscope I finally find the tiny beating heart.  It is gone.  Helplessly I look at the young shirtless father through the liquid lens on my eyes.  This is all too normal for this jungle father.  But it is not normal to this naïve jungle doctor.  Numb, intensely alone, useless.

 

I whispered to myself, "That's more than twice my current salary."  I rode the tech rocket, but I am no rocket scientist.  I am still the "never amount to anything" sixth grade loser.  Can I really lead hundreds of people?  This is life changing.  Giddy, pride, fraud.

 

Emotions drive my art. I create because I am still living, searching, confused, and normal. 

My Path to Get to Where I Am

 

I grew up in Tacoma, Washington that incorrectly has an inferiority complex to Seattle.  I was raised by a sociologist father who was overwhelmed by the chaos of 5 children, and a teacher mother who thrived on the chaos and the many extra people who thought of our house as their home.  They were spiritual evangelicals but encouraged me to question everything and never blindly follow.  I think my parents would have been hippies but they had too many mouths to feed.

 

Being hidden as the forth of five active children had great advantages, as I could make out my own path for myself.  I was encouraged in my art from as early as I can remember and art was often the only positive marks from my teachers. 

I began university as an Art major but dropped out to work, as somehow I got married after the first year.  I worked in drafting jobs back when it was done with a pen and paper.  I eventually went to Engineering school but wanted to make that harder by having two children in the process.  I miraculously received a BS in Bioengineering and an MS in Electrical Engineering.  Being an engineer seemed to me like I was being paid to play.  Making robots and software was just so much fun and gave another outlet to my love of creating.  It turns out that I was pretty good at engineering and ended my career as a Vice President trying to guide opinionated, brilliant, quirky, and inspiring teams of creatives.

In the middle of my engineering career my wife (the same one) and I , with our children, decided to sell everything and go save the world.  We ended up deep in the jungles of Papua New Guinea doing medical and linguistic work.  Think grass skirts, stone axes, and huts on stilts.  We were seriously remote.  I wouldn't trade this experience, or ever do it again, for anything. 

 

After the Engineering career at a bunch of different companies I finally decided in 2017 to stop fitting art in on the side and to pursue creating art full time. 

 

I live and work in Seattle with my wife -- seriously, the same one from when we got married at age 19!  My children live in the area and occupy their time building, farming and teaching.  They are awesome kids and I am super proud and fortunate to get a couple good ones.