As an Alaskan artist for more than 25 years, I have a reputation for being capable, cooperative, adaptable and innovative. I have created more than a dozen permanent art pieces in schools through the Teaching Artist program plus a number of large-scale 1% for Art installations. Whether I am painting a mural for the PAC's acoustic shell, carving a lively menagerie of wooden sculptures for a library or working on a collaborative mural in a school, I am always conscious of how the piece I am creating will relate to its architectural and social environment. I love to craft a moment of interaction which invites the viewer to make connections between themselves, the artwork and the space around them.
I am inspired by musings of how humans interact with their environment, both natural and man-made. I often use images of animals as the conduit for creating this scene of self reflection and understanding. Animals act as a surrogate for the "Everyman" and allow us to explore emotions and actions without the limitations of race or gender. They also tie us to fables, tales and myths which often have shared relevance over multiple cultures. My artwork acknowledges and unites the people and spaces around it in a supportive triangle of well-being.
In every piece of wood I carve, image I design on my computer, or mural I paint in a school, I seek for ways to invite both emotional and architectural connection to the artwork. I love to make something that belongs, that has a home. For carvings, that might translate into making a cat designed to mount above a window and reach out to grab its owner, a gazelle that is poised to walk placidly up a stairway, or a dog designed to be mounted on a landing, waiting eagerly for the return of its owner. In my mural paintings, I like to use and visually repeat existing design elements from the space, or look for ways to bring the larger outdoor environment into the interior environment.
I live intimately in both my own exterior and interior environments. Every day I explore my tangled hemlock woods and tundra-capped hilltop with my family, seeking the encounters with Alaska's wilderness which inspire my work. Years ago, I learned to use chisels and gouges as I carefully carved the timber joints for my post and beam house from the beetle-killed cousins of these same hemlock and spruce. The trees are not only homes for the wild creatures who inspire my designs, they are my home and now they become the bones and bodies of much of the artwork I saw, mill, cut, sand and paint here on my property.
Although I value my personal work time, I am also deeply inspired by people and always enjoy working with a specific audience in mind. Working on public and private art commissions and teaching students in our schools to love art and create collaborative murals are all exciting ways to fuel my imagination. Finding and facilitating the creative symbiotic relationship between people, places and artwork is my life work.