The Backdoor

Entry to art via spiritual yearnings
I came into my art career through the backdoor beginning with commercial products. My first product was shower curtains. This was either naiveté  or ignorance. Imagine if you will a total novice setting out to make a 6 foot by 8 foot silk screened design in one process on canvas. First you have to have miles of tables and frames of enormous size. There was undoubtedly a reason no one was doing it –aside from good judgment. But I found a willing accomplice printer and produced seven of these enormous designs. Strangely they found a market and stores bought them. I still have a collection of leftovers in my attic. As you can image lugging around the frames and the product was an industrial size problem. But what did I know. I was learning othe job.
My next product was hot pads. Silk screened hot pads measuring 10 x 10 inches. My printer sighed with relief when she saw the new line. The stores liked them. They were sufficiently small that I could print them myself so I bought the equipment and set it up in a studio by my house in San Geronimo valley.
I have always liked kids –except for the time I spent as a middle-school teacher, so it was a fairly logical step for me to start designing t-shirts for kids. Stores and the public liked them and they started appearing in zoos and aquariums across the country. The only problem with that was people would order them by the hundreds or thousands creating a lot of printing work –not the most creative thing in the world to do.
This was all a lot of fun, but I discovered deeper spiritual yearnings beneath my surface design. I began joining artists groups – fine artists. Or at least art that had no obvious purpose to nourish the spirit. From that point on the creation of works of art gripped me and I began staying up all night –usually inspired some idea or situation –for example my youngest son and his friends filled up the back of his Izuzu trooper with Arizona tea cans. I seized on these cans and cut them up to create a seven foot tall cross. The inspiring passon behind it was the tragedy of the Mexican border and I called the piece “Crossing”.
My passions were similarly stirred when one of my fellow artists got cancer. The group all made hats to cover her baldness and the hats became moderately notorious and were sold for a large donation to a cancer charity. That same artist asked the group to make a cover for her casket. I took some of the silk material from that project and made an elaborate dress called “Cycle of Life”. That began a series of “dress” pieces. Random passions, injustice at the border, a friend’s cancer who knows what project will worm its way into my affections next? I don’t.


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