For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an illustrator. My earliest childhood memory was at five years old. I remember standing on the cushion of our love seat in the living room jumping and bouncing up and down, making the statement, “I am not going to stop jumping until I am an artist.” I used to spend days at school and the evenings at home drawing Spider-Man fighting a mob of gangsters all in the same orange shirts, and blue jeans. Mr. T was another character I would frequently draw, and my father would hang them in his office. It seemed that every movie or pop cultural iconic hero, I became obsessed with (usually characters like Gizmo or Stripe from Gremlins, or the shark from Jaws) I would spend time drawing them and putting them into their own stories. Spider-Man and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles taught me how to draw, not art teachers. Like most kids my age, and all through high school, I knew I was going to art school. I could not relate to my peers that had no idea what they wanted to do for a career, or what to major in at college. As a high school art teacher for the last 16 years, I can’t relate to my undecided students even now.
My obsession with fantasy illustration came early on in childhood. Since I was very young, I collected fantasy paperback books simply because of the amazing cover art. At the time, I really had no idea who the illustrators were, and I may never even had any intention of reading the books. My influences are many, and they vary from numerous styles and techniques. Kinuko Craft, Frank Frazetta, Rembrandt, Richard Scarry.
As a professional illustrator working in the field, the passion I have for creating my own work and sharing it with others, are forces that help to motivate my students. I enjoy working alongside my students. It keeps us on the same level and they learn as much and more from watching me struggle and succeed as they do from instruction.
I teach art to open young people to self discovery, creativity, and their unique potential-honoring the artist within all of us. Art is a dynamic discipline that adds to a person’s overall education. I sincerely believe that without exposure to the arts one cannot achieve that balance to be successful in today’s world. It is my hope to help my future students arrive at this balance.