Having been involved in the Arts for as long as I can remember, I have had my share of ups and downs. It has been an interesting journey, which has, at times, been more like clinging desperately –and often in exhilaration– to a tidal surge that is pushing me forward and pulling me under in the same stroke.
I have wondered, many times, what the defining element was, that crystallizing event that has defined my career so far, my burning desire to create, to spread a message. Why is it that I was cut from that cloth –however poor of a pedigree– that would keep me up late at night scrawling out ideas and feeding my ravenous desire to learn more and more?
I remember one event in particular that had a great effect on my sense of what might be accomplished: my first grade science fair. I've always had a great fondness for peg beetles (which I called 'stag beetles" at the time) and chose to make them the subject of my project. Deciding that just an illustrated poster alone wouldn't do, I also adhered a terrarium, made from the clear plastic packaging from a He-Man action figure, to the poster with live beetles and a mini-habitat. I must admit that I felt a rush when I walked into the classroom and my wonderfully encouraging teacher, Ms. Alexander, showed much enthusiasm. Winning first place was also immensely satisfying to an awkward and shy little boy. Ironically, that melding of graphic design, art and nature, directly links to where I am today: still combining those elements to tell a story, but instead of a Crayola marker, I'm using a camera to do most of my illustration work. And, of course, my passion for nature has been an equally, if not more of a determining force in my life these past few years.
Perhaps it is an addiction to creativity, there is certainly a rush associated with artistic success and an ever-growing hunger to achieve more. If so, I'm afraid that there may not be a cure. Whatever it is that drives me on has been a constant companion in my life, for better or for worse, and as I write, I can't help be distracted by an idea that just occurred to me. It is a relentless master, but one that I love and hate at once, and without it I would be lost.