I am mainly a self-taught artist though I studied at Parsons School of Design in New York as well as at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The animal creations have been leaping from my hand since the age of two. It is as though I was born with them.
At first glance, my costumed animals may appear merely whimsical or flippant. For me the animals go much deeper and I hope that as well as enjoy and be amused by my imagery, the viewer will spend a little more time studying them to figure out the internal and often personal viewpoint I am offering. My childhood is present in my works, influenced by the children’s book illustrations that I was most enchanted with -- worlds I wished to belong to and creatures that appealed more to me than the humans that often ostracized me.
The truth is that humans are animals as well. We often lose touch with that reality and mask ourselves in foolish pomp and arrogance, inventing standards that demolish kindness and harm the innocent. The brutality of nature is no match for the brutality human beings have cultivated in the name of refinement. I find pleasure in lovingly mocking our flaws, embracing them with delight and a bit of an eye roll. I often use the classical portrait to convey this. Like the poor mocking the rich, my creatures mock us by taking themselves a bit too seriously in the roles I have assigned them.
I honor the beauty of all creatures, and through that, the beauty inherent in all of us, as an observer in all that is natural. We are them; they are us -- regal sometimes; at other times, buffoons. Violent, passionate, dull-witted or clever. These traits are common in all things, though we may be blind to them when gazing at our own reflections.