When I was in grade school, I naively embraced the idea that the only pathway to a successful career in art started by attending the High School of Art & Design. I applied in 8th grade and was not accepted. I reapplied in 9th grade, but never heard from the school. Lacking confidence, I assumed that perhaps I was not talented enough to be an artist and abandoned the notion. I went on to graduate from Sacred Heart High School and then earned a baccalaureate degree from John Jay College in Political Science.
Since John Jay, I have had wonderful professional experiences in the spheres of non-profit organizations, higher education and I even wrote for an on-line magazine during the dot com boom of the 1990’s. Along the way, I taught myself web design and other digital media. I always maintained my interest in art, but never pursued any academic training.
After my father passed away, I was clearing out his workplace locker at the post office and astonishingly discovered that my second application to the High School of Art & Design had not been mailed. I never found out why he did not mail it. However, I came to realize that I had given up on my dream too easily.
I went back to school and earned a second baccalaureate degree in art from Lehman College. While I was student, I won an award for photography from the American Society of Contemporary Artists. Since earning my degree, I have illustrated a children’s book and had my art work featured in an Emmy-nominated documentary on domestic violence. I have also shown paintings and photography in several group shows.
I fully embrace Plato's idea of a world in flux as detailed in Timaeus. I was born in the continuously changing City of New York to parents who simultaneously embraced traditional and progressive ideals. Needless to say, the messages were mixed. As an artist, I try to reflect these mixed messages in my work.
Depicting the figure, I take inspiration from Degas and Picasso. Painting still life, I look to Cezanne. I typically paint subjects inspired by Spanish-speaking cultures. Many have referred to my painting as primitive or neo-impressionism---I agree with that!
I love people watching and street photography is a large part of my life. I take inspiration from Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz and, more recently, Vivian Maier. While I learned on film, I love to experiment with Photoshop often employing color splash techniques.
Regarding illustration, I am inspired by the likes of Klaus Voormann, Saul Bass, comic books and The New Yorker. I am still looking for my voice as an illustrator, but am confident I will find it.
As Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”