As a child I loved art and comics and used to create everything my adolescent mind could conjure, but by the time I reached junior high I realized my artistic skills didn’t quite make the grade. Like many kids, I became self-conscious of my artwork (and what I was trying to express) and gave up drawing altogether in order to concentrate on math, science, and sports. All of this is so often done under the guise of “growing up.”
After serving in the USMC I enrolled in college, eager to get back to the business of being a kid. Being in school always makes me feel youthful. Not that I didn’t have fun in the military, but I wanted to experience something simpler and more innocent. I wanted to re-visit a place in my mind where I felt endless hope and bountiful joy. For me, this came in the form of reading and imagining stories of fantastic worlds, adventure, and mystery. So, I began to collect comic books again. Then I started to draw. I quickly realized that I wasn’t nearly as bad at drawing as I thought I was. So, I took every art class my schedule would accommodate.
During that time I realized that the process of creation was as much an “art” as the finished pieces themselves. Painting was experiential and there were endless possibilities. This was as close to being a kid as anything I had ever experienced, so I became addicted to it. For years I put on hold my thoughts of drawing Spiderman and Superman and studied artists such as Van Gogh and Monet.
It’s been a great journey, but somewhere along the way, I lost the playfulness of it all. Painting became academic and a career pursuit rather than a process driven one. This was a result of believing that to be taken seriously as an artist I needed an ego larger than life and had to charge thousands of dollars for every piece I created. Or that my art had to contain such over-the-top levels of sophistication that in order to understand it, a person needs to have a degree in art appreciation. Of course, this is completely absurd. And these beliefs only perpetuate the idea that artists are flamboyant megalomaniacs, suicidal misanthropes, or crazed lunatics. Some people will always live up to these stereotypes, but when it comes down to it, art shouldn’t be that complicated. Profound, yes. Complicated, no.
Since moving to Tahoe in 2005, I’ve been re-evaluating my life and returning to my youthful dreams. And although I haven’t painted many “fine” art pieces these past few years, I’ve made plenty of “fun” art along the way. In the following galleries, you’ll see some of the work I’ve created over the years. For more in-depth discussion of my artistic pursuits, visit my blog Buckshot Ambition.