In an attempt to see the world through a stranger’s eye, I have come to understand the importance of a truly uncompromised perspective, suppressing that which makes me an individual in order to gain access to an uncompromised opinion. Consciously peeling back the layers of my own consciousness in order to reveal those which can be considered unbiased answers to the conceptual questions that drive me as a creator/ artist, (Why are we here?, Where did we come from?, and What will we become?)
Put simply this practice has allowed me to interpret the world as an ever-changing reflection of its accumulated history, becoming more and more disconnected from its past through the unconscious following of conservative precedents that start in some cases as liberal agendas. Tending to follow rather than lead by example our species has seemingly been lead down a path with no inclination of how to get back once they have found out the breadcrumbs used to do so have been sold to continue moving down the same linear path, trading an understanding of our past in a sense for where some see ourselves in the untold future. Now in a world based on an accumulation of personal opinions passed down from generation to generation we have seemingly become prohibited from evaluating anything without first consulting the consciousness created by an inherently flawed system
However as this practice continues foward, if you will, we must see our evolutionary gifts as responsibilities, instead of rights, and use the ability of our consciousness that separates us from the rest of the natural world, to marry rather than disconnect and destroy that which was once a unified system. Understanding ourselves as a piece within the puzzle of life, rather than the one putting it together.
A Brief History
Never understanding the role art would ultimately play in my life, its introduction to me my sophomore year of high school was seen at first to be little more than a fun escape from the day to day monotony I saw the public school system to be. However as time went on the realization of how my passion for creation could be refined into what was considered an art form allowed for the possibilities to quickly shine through. Starting with only a short class period to begin my artistic education/practice I soon realized that if I was going to be able to bring my true visions to fruition I would have to give myself an adequate amount of time and space to do so. Therefore with the help of my then teacher, now mentor/friend, Robert LaWarre III, I was able to set up a small studio space in the corner of my bedroom, bringing my ceramic projects back to school once completed and ready to be fired.
Moving my way through the art classes offered at my high school, I was eventually able to enroll myself into AP (Advanced Placement) Art my senior year, giving myself the ability to build up the portfolio I would eventually use to get into the art program at Stetson University. Once at Stetson University my meeting with the head of the 3-D department, Dan Gunderson, couldn’t have gone any better, walking into his office with a simple inquiry, and walking out with not only a personal studio space to continue my ceramic work, but a paid assistantship that would eventually lead to multiple TA positions, professional connections, and yet another unbelievable relationship with a Professor turned mentor/friend. Now in both an atmosphere and a state of mind that that was conducive for creative thinking and productivity my obsession with the art of creating exploded as a wealth of new knowledge coupled with the time, ability, and space needed to motivate proficiency became accessible through the five digit code that allowed me into my studio space twenty-four-seven. Spending the majority of my life in that place for the next four years I began entering shows in California, France, China, and throughout Florida while taking home best in show my sophomore and junior year in addition to winning the Maris Prize my senior year for Stetson University’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium. Always maintaining a dedication to education as well, Majoring in Art and Minoring in Business Administration while keeping over a 3.75 GPA, making the Dean’s List all eight semesters, and graduating Magna Cum Laude.
The position that I held with Dan Gunderson for just under 4.5 years consisted of the mixing, formulating, re-constituting, and testing of several types of clay, slip, and glaze. In addition to loading, firing, unloading, and maintaining several types of kilns including high fire gas, high fire gas with salt/soda, programmable electric, and cone fired electric. As well as taking on multiple TA (teaching assistant) positions every semester, helping Dan and his students in and out of class with three dimensional projects while maintaining all three studio areas and taking care of the indoor and outdoor kiln sheds. Under Dan’s supervision I was also able to gain experience assisting him with the curatorial duties of the two on campus galleries, where I would help maintain, configure, install, and light shows throughout the year.
Outside of working with Dan Gunderson I also worked for professional potter, Becky Baldwin, assisting with production throwing, maintaining her studio space and kiln shed, mixing and re-constituting glazes, and wax dipping, glazing, loading, and firing bisque and glaze ware.
Throughout my Junior and Senior year at Stetson University I also worked part time for Clay Pigeons, a local pottery shop in downtown Deland, FL where I was employed to maintain their kiln shed and double dip, wipe, load, and fire all bisque and glaze ware using stilts.
Throughout my life I have also worked construction part time, gaining a multitude of skills and an understanding for how to use a variety of tools in the proper manor. Building houses with my father for much of my life, I have also worked for B & G fencing in Oviedo, FL building on site custom fencing, deconstructed and reconstructed several types of flooring for two different companies, pressure washed, cleaned, and painted large and small scale buildings for Disney and other commercial and residential properties, and have most recently been working for ProBuild services in Lake Mary, FL as an independent contracting assistant. With no problem working hard and getting dirty if the job calls for it I would consider myself an all-around good worker who shows up on time and gets the job done properly the first time around, treating each and every project as if it’s my own.
After graduating Stetson University, Dan Gunderson asked me to maintain my position as his assistant outside of the university which I continued doing for a short while before deciding to move to a larger studio space in Sorrento, FL and take on a teaching position of my own for the city of Casselberry at the Casselberry Art House. Designing lesson plans, instructing classes, maintaining, loading, firing, and unloading kilns, along with taking on all the responsibilities that go along with having a class of your own, here I have continued working with ceramics as one of my favorite mediums in addition to continuing to work on the large scale environmental installations that I focused on the last two years I attended Stetson University.
Now attempting to focus on my own work as much as possible in addition to teaching my classes at the Casselberry Art House and continuing to work for ProBuild services, I have attempted to give myself the freedom needed as an artist to allow my creativity to come out to play while supplementing my income with trades that relate themselves to what I’m doing artistically.