Coming of age in the 1990’s East Bay Area (California) and being raised by a large family of inquisitive makers meant that art was everywhere during my formative years. My grandma loved quilting, my mom started a small business: Crafts for Kids - a mail based craft kit subscription, my brother was meant for theater, my grandpa and uncle were beekeepers, and that is just a handful of wonderful people that I grew up around or heard stories about. Our summer vacations were spent fishing and hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. In that wilderness I gained an unrelenting admiration for the natural world, not only for their wonders but also for their healing qualities.
Then came high school (slacker), U.S. Marine Corps (oorah!), and in 2004 I became a stay-at-home dad to raise our daughter, using free time to study arts (and cooking) through self-guided instruction, primarily focusing on photography. As she rose through the grades, more time freed up, and I earned a degree in computer aided drafting design (2018 - CADD, mechanical discipline) through Tidewater Community College (TCC). After a few months of being hired to create rectangles all day on a computer I felt uninspired, still I immensely enjoyed the design aspect of CADD. So I headed back to TCC to study a more tangible subject: ceramics, and fell for the clay art immediately. Instead of working through a screen, still utilizing my drawing/design skills, I was working with my hands (and in three dimensions!) with seemingly limitless creative possibilities.
As the Spring of 2018 semester came to an end, I was offered an opportunity to work at the TCC Visual Arts Center campus as the ceramic instructor’s studio assistant. That is where, for the next year, I learned pertinent skills required for several behind-the-scenes aspects of operating a studio. Some examples include: kiln troubleshooting and repair, glaze mixing, kiln firing, preparing demonstration materials, all the while maintaining a clean, safe, and organized work environment. During the Spring 2019 semester I took on the additional responsibility as the Student Art League Vice President, in that time we organized a donation drive, participated in multiple educational demonstrations, and managed several student sales opportunities. That year took a lot, but I gained a lot, too.
Like so many other Americans, I spent the time during our Covid shutdown reflecting on my trajectory and decided to dedicate my time and energy on my passion for the arts. Currently, I am working from my home studio in Virginia Beach, a small eight by eight foot space dedicated to creativity after a short residency as a ceramic instructor during the Summer of 2022 with d'Art Center in Norfolk, VA.
One last thing before I end, I have to take this moment to give due credit to my family, friends, and teachers that have encouraged me to pursue the arts. I am eternally grateful for their instruction and support.