From Drawing and Oil Painting to Digital Illustration and Printmaking, my art continues to evolve through new mediums. My art reaches out to the changes in realist art influenced by my graphic design, traditional animation, and commercial art roots. I still find a simplicity and pure nature of a clean vector logo design. Proper design can completely change the way someone sees their world.
Our legends and myths stem from our accomplishments and failures. Through news stories of adversity in real life mirroring Joseph Campbell's Heroes Journey; my work positions the viewers lens at the metamorphosis from the casual everyday life to beyond the threshold of the heroic deed. The style references Japanese ink wash, German woodcuts, and modern American comic illustrators such as Frank Miller. The details of the monochrome narrative are merged with the abstraction of the limited color palette. Most of my life, I have seen myself as a commercial artist. In the past few years; through becoming a teacher as well as an MFA graduate student at Norfolk State University, I hold a growing passion for fine arts. From digital drawing to screen printmaking; my process has evolved greatly over the years.I still start with a simple paper and pencil to develop a concept into reality. I then digitize them by redrawing directly onto an iPad. Pulling from my commercial art background, I vectorize the images giving a clean crisp edge to my line quality. From this point, the image blossoms organically into a piece of fine art. Abstract colors and materials are used when needed and a multitude of different paints, silk screen techniques, plus a few gritty street art approaches are used until a final depiction prevails. All of my experiences have collected to give my artwork an original Pop Art/Constructivism style. With similar experimental touches as seen in Robert Rauschenberg's work, I know that my creations will be able to inspire future heroes. At the end of it all; teaching, creating my own art or learning from other through passionate research, I always try to think about Pop Art Pittsburgh native, Andy Warhol's quote, "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art."
By seeing each student as an individual, I teach with a HIGH emphasis on student-driven constructive critiques that place the student in the position of control over their own education. If they succeed or fail, it is singularly on their shoulders. I have altered the desired testing methods to become fully inclusive. (ie: All tests are read allowed and fill in the blank based) This dissuades others from cheating, as the test was given is different than any other given in another classroom. It also stops students from leaving the classroom due to an IEP. No one is ostracized, ridiculed, or encouraged to limit their own potential.
Originally coming from the Commercial Arts realm, my migration into teaching was interestingly original. Although I proudly utilize my knowledge of child/adult psychology often to help understand the personal stance of each of my students, I also rely heavily on my gut. Entering education from a workforce as opposed to directly from college to the classroom has offered me a real-world view on teaching the arts. Students are able to relate to their artwork by understanding how it will actually help them in their lives, either as artists themselves or through creative thought and processing. My background has also allotted me an interest in technology. I carry this into my classroom where I am constantly one step ahead of my students on new and upcoming technology, as well as how to utilize it within my lessons. With technology in the classroom, I am always referencing a great printmaking artist and Norfolk State University Professor, Solomon Isekieje who said, "Design is a solution to a problem". Design in ALL forms, artistic and otherwise must relate to the real world application in order to gain value to the society and our students.
I often look back to my own time spent in High School. The drama, confusion, and fear that come with simply being a teenager. I am constantly reflecting on each of my lessons and looking for methods to improve. I imagine myself, as a High Schooler, sitting in my classroom and wondering would I even reach myself, or am I lecturing and demonstrating artistic skills to no one. I was once quoted in the Daily Advance Newspaper as saying, "If they [the students] don't like what they are doing, then I am not doing my job."
My own personal skills help bring not only the real world but also the true application of those skills into the academic environment. My students learn the classical methodologies of drawing in an Andrew Loomis and Charles Bargue style as well as learn to Model three-dimensionally using Blender. My students are able to understand color theory as it pertains to painting with tempera, acrylic, as well as oils. They are also educated in graphic design principles using Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator, Inkscape, and learning HTML. Finally, my students take all of their skills to learn how to create a video game, on the PC, from scratch. You can view and play all of their games here. I also have been proud to bring new after-school activities that have flourished at Camden County High School such as, Art Guild and a film studies group called Bad Movie Night.
Personally, I have always held true to a quote from Edinboro University Sculpture Professor and Department Chair, "A great teacher is someone who can say the same thing 1,000 different ways." To me, this says it all. We all learn differently, but a true educator can reach every single child, by differentiating their instruction and admitting that they too can learn from the experiences inside the classroom.