From the time I was maybe seven or eight years old I remember pretty much all of my toys and model airplanes, tanks, and cars went through a cycle of new/ build, destroy, and rebuild. While Destroy was obviously fun, the Rebuild was really the fun part and the part where I had the freedom to not following the correct assembly instructions. It wasn’t until sometime in my mid twenties when I was applying for art school admission that I began to think of myself as an artist. The part I was certain of was that I took great pleasure in taking stuff apart and reassembling it in a way that I liked or better yet, conveyed meaning or feeling I couldn’t adequately put into words.
I like that what suits me as an artist (or the work I’ve likely more grown into) just isn’t pure or purist so much as it’s messy and emerges from disparate parts that don’t readily relate to one another in obvious ways. Drawing plays into the way I collage. Collage, maybe because it was my first art experience, has always been my organizational tool for anything I’ve ever made. My work as a social worker and therapist more than just informs, but often drives my art making. Making art and loving the experience of seeing others making art (in apparent and less apparent ways) deeply informs my work as a social worker and therapist.
Pretty much everything 2D that I make these days is digital. It’s easy to store and I like the democratic, not elitist part where everyone gets a print that’s just as good as anyone else’s print.
In 1991 I completed my MFA in drawing and painting with a minor in art history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I had previously completed a BA in history and radio/tv communications from what is now Elon University. I would subsequently complete my masters in social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
I came to Chicago in 1991 with a newly minted MFA and a stack of paintings and prints. From that time until the birth of my son in 1997 I made work, made a few connections and showed around Chicago. I showed in the early Around the Coyote Festivals in 1992 through 1996. Galleries I showed with at the time included, Happy-Delpeche and No Palace, Mars, and until the end of their contemporary gallery, with R.H. Love Galleries. Happy Delpeche and No Palace were my primary spaces. I miss Jim Happy-Delpeche who was a good friend and champion. I also miss my friends from No Palace. Chad Spicer who started No Palace also became a very good friend and supporter of mine.
Showing over the next 20 years while I raised my son and developed a career in social work was sparse. I showed at small galleries that no longer exist. I spent a weekend showing a wall of swastika images I’d made at a more recent Around the Coyote event after a friend called and cajoled me into joining him for the weekend.
In 2017 I responded to the call for artists who were interested in forming an artist’s cooperative gallery. From this came a small number who formed Agitator Gallery. We moved into a storefront space at 1112 N. Ashland Ave where we consistently paid the rent and championed the work of underrepresented artists and did benefits for the Chicago Recovery Alliance and the Sex Workers Outreach Program. When COVID made the shows we did unsafe we decided to not renew our lease in September, 2020. We plan on seeking a new and hopefully larger space in Spring or Summer 2021.
From 2017 on, I’ve shown with Jackson Jung Gallery on occasion and done graphic design work for the Chicago Drug User’s Union, Renaissance Social Services, and the Chicago Recovery Alliance. More than anything, I’m proud of my work with Agitator Gallery.