Nature and the outdoors were a large part of my upbringing in Michigan. Whether it was camping, fishing, or just hanging out with family and friends, I found myself spending a lot of time outside and observing my environment. Because it was such an integral component of my daily existence, some of the first creating I did utilized natural materials, wood in particular. When I was 19 and on a family trip, I saw a man who was selling chainsaw carvings that he had created, and I became extremely interested in learning how it was done. Upon returning to Michigan, I was inspired to teach myself how to do my own chainsaw carvings. With wood provided to me by grandfather, I honed my craft until I had this skill mastered.
A couple of years later, I started teaching industrial arts in the public school system of Michigan and sharing my love of building and creating with students. I was able to help my students gain an appreciation for doing work with their hands and take pride in their craft, something that I had learned from both my father and grandfather. Being an educator has allowed me to use the experiences gained in helping students rethink how to solve problems to become a better problem solver myself.
My wife’s parents are the ones that opened my eyes to art. This, paired with the pride in craftsmanship instilled in me by my father and grandfather, helped me find my footing as an artist. Initially, my art was inspired by the world around me and I used wood as the medium to express it all. Over the last couple of years, things have worked differently when it comes to creating. I find myself using found materials as a larger component of my work, often allowing those materials to inspire me and the shape a project takes. While I’ll always be partial to wood, much of my current work is mixed media, which provides me with the opportunity to use multiple materials and other techniques, including welding.
With the process of creating playing such a large part in my work, my hope is that the viewer will see it as unique—intent on the making as much as the final outcome.