What inspired your winning entry? I was attracted by the atmosphere and this magical time of day. The complementary colors and the variety of color temperatures in the snow were what I wanted to capture. I was struck by how this tree was much more than an object. It was very much a presence. After doing several studies of this new motif, I came to this solution: I wanted a heightened sense of color and light to convey the life and power of this tree.
Where did you study art? I studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and then later at the Art Students League of New York.
How would you describe your style? It’s a funny question in that I don’t consider I have a style or a school that I can claim. I paint simply and as directly as possible, so that I might achieve an honest emotional response to my subject.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I’m not interested in just the beautiful moment but rather an eternal one. The beautiful moment is where things start, but they have to resonate on a deeper emotional and spiritual level with me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? When I was a young artist/illustrator, I had a few minutes before a client meeting in New York City, and I ducked into a coffee shop. While there, I observed a man sitting off to my right who I recognized to be Seymour Chwast, a giant in the graphic-arts world and co-founder of Push Pin Studios. I mustered the courage to ask him for words of advice for a young artist. He leaned back in his chair, loaded his pipe, and started to light up for what seemed like an eternity. Then he leaned in to me and gave me these four words of advice: “Keep your overhead low.” At 22, I thought he had blown me off. A few years later, I came to understand, and learned to live by, those words. When your overhead is low, your need to make money changes a bit. You don’t have to accept every job that comes your way. You have the opportunity and luxury to follow your own path.
What is your pet peeve? People who are too afraid to try something new for fear of doing something wrong.
What galleries represent your work? Travis Gallery, New Hope, PA; RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX; The Banks Gallery, New London, NH.
This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!