I was born in a small Missouri town in April of 1976. At the age of 5, we moved from our beautiful farm to Midland Texas where I was introduced to art for the first time. Growing up, my mother frequently took me to our town’s art museum. I became fascinated with the subject from very early on in life but baseball was my thing. I really wanted to play professionally when I got older. I was pretty good at it too! Creating always came second to a ball and a glove.
It wasn’t until I was 28 years old that art would suddenly explode into my life in ways I would of never imagined.
In 2003, my son was about to be born. I hadn’t gone very far in life and had absolutely no direction. I said to myself “Is this it for me?” “This can’t be it for me”. I lived in small duplex with my girlfriend of 6 years and had a part time job delivering pizzas. It was 9 months of excitement and joy waiting for my son but it was also panic. I knew I would be a stay at home dad because she had the better job so I needed something I could do to help support my family too. It was a time when I prayed for a door to open and thought a lot.
Soon after, in all the glory and joy of holding my beautiful baby boy, that’s when it happened.
I started to have dreams and visions of paintings I had never seen before. It was a constant flood of designs and colors that consumed me and still consumes me. I remember the exact day I made the phone call to my mother and told her, “Mom, your going to think I’m crazy but I want to be an Artist”. I didn’t know how but I felt it was something I had to do. Being the unrelenting supporter she was through my life, that phone call was soon followed by shipments of new paints, brushes and canvas to which I spent the next 6 months experimenting with.
All of that experimentation had produced enough pieces to have my first solo art show at a place called the Avocado Tree in uptown Dallas Tx. Although it was not of the paintings I had seen in my dreams, it was met with enthusiasm and was likely one of the proudest moments my mother had felt in many years. She had arranged the whole thing herself which made me really proud of her too. The fact that I had even made it that far was because she was my #1 fan. My younger sister even bought several of my paintings just so I could keep going. Things really took a turn for me when one night, I stumbled onto a unique texture medium and process, almost by accident. It was at that moment I knew I had found what I had been dreaming of. I began to develop these process’s and techniques into my own unique style which became instantly successful. As the years past, I won several awards at art shows and found success in almost every place I went, even on the side of the road which I was not afraid to do if I was broke and needing supplies.
In 2007 with the help of my father in Florida, the art shows in Destin, Navarre Beach and Pensacola were not only very profitable but they gave me amazing exposure to new clients all around the country.
Back in Missouri, in 2008 things just went crazy good. It was the year the paintings became different. Better. Something else entirely. My time in Florida proved to be even more bountiful after a trip to San Destin Florida where I was met Artist Justin Gaffery and was introduced to resin use in art for the first time. It was the answer I had been looking for. The missing link between my delicate porcelain crackle textures and the rest of the world. It not only protected these textures way better than my acrylic gloss did but it brought out incredible colors that you couldn’t see before. They looked richer and they were cleanable with Windex. This made them functional in a lot of new spaces. Restaurants, Dental offices, salons, coffee shops, everyone wanted them and I even made my way into a nice gallery as well. Life was finally looking up.
However, very soon, my life came to a crashing halt. My mother was suddenly diagnosed with a rare and untreatable cancer. She was diagnosed and passed away 28 days later. She was 56 years old. She was my rock. My mother was an amazing woman. I had always felt so lucky to be her son. It was beyond devastating. It destroyed me for a long time. I was really sad for my kids as well. What they would miss. All that love. All those Christmas presents from Grandma. This was a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.
Those next few years were hard. I focused all of my emotions into my art. I painted like a mad man. I cant even tell you how many paintings I produced. Hundreds.. I suppose it was my way of making something good from something bad. Turning your anger and pain into beauty and something that brings happiness to other people. That’s about the best thing you can do in my opinion. I wanted to make her proud and continue the work we had accomplished together. So that’s what I did.
I guess I had done everything right because also in 2010, I was featured in a 4 page write up in 417 Magazine titled “From Pizza to Picasso”. Things had really blown up for me and everyone was noticing. I was constantly involved in well respected charity auctions, featured gallery shows and fine art festivals. My work and me were frequently included in interior designer awards, photo shoots and articles. I had so much momentum that I was actually living a semi rock star life. I was being recognized every where I went. I knew a lot of awesome people. I had purchased a home and re-modeled it. I had a couple of good cars and my family was all together. I was living the dream and didn’t think anything would stop me.. Until something did.
All of those years I had spent painting just off the floor. On canvas elevated by solo cups. I was used to leaning over for hours at a time and it gave me the reach to be able to do a lot of paintings and really large ones. Unfortunately, my lower back reached the end of the line and the muscles quit working. They basically snapped so I couldn’t support myself very well. It put a lot of pressure on my spine and led to constant, agonizing pain. I struggled to find proper medical care for a long time. I was prescribed really bad medications which led to even more problems. I was preparing to possibly live the rest of my life in a wheel chair. I certainly didn’t think I would ever paint again. I shut the business down, sold everything I could and moved in with a friend out of town. Life as I had known it was over.. again.
Over the course of about 7 very restful months, I finally received the help of a specialist doctor. With physical therapy and proper medications, I was able to heal and recover physically. I made the move back to Springfield to try and re-start my life. Unfortunately it was catastrophic financially so I had lost my home and life savings. I lived in my 2001 Chevy Suburban for months. I camped in State Parks and looked for jobs during the day. I actually got smart and applied for a job with the Department of Natural Resources who maintained the park I stayed in! It was a genius idea because they hired me and gave me my own private camp site for free! Living and working at Table Rock Lake State Park was the start of my climb back up. I eventually had a close friend invite me into her family’s Springfield home and soon after took a job driving a bus for a public transportation company. I worked really hard at that job and saved all I could. I was able to rent a run down studio/gallery space in downtown Springfield. I actually lived there secretly for a few months while I fixed it up. I found a very small studio loft just up the street not long after that. That’s when I finally knew I would be ok. I could make paintings again and had a place to call my own. Nine months later, I moved into a house in Strafford Missouri. The house has allowed me to grow my business and life in many ways. Having a better studio and quality of life has worked wonders for not just my own happiness but for the canvass as well. The beauty and quality of work is reaching new highs as I am able to fine tune my techniques. I would say my best work ever is already here with more on the way. I am extremely excited about the future.
I have suffered unimaginably, I lost everything a man could lose and was in the most hopeless situations but I worked really hard, stayed focused and little by little, I painted. I was able to make my way back from a total life catastrophe because of my art. I think that’s pretty remarkable but I am far from stopping now. What’s to come will really show how extremely grateful I am to have a second, pain free, chance at it. I paint on tables now. I may never be 100% again but if I am careful, I should be fine for many years to come.
So what’s the next chapter in this story? I hope it’s the reason I made it this far. I am beginning to get back into charity events. This summer I am taught about 40 kids to do those awesome acrylic pours you’ve probably seen on Facebook. These are kids who are struggling with loss or recovering from pediatric medical issues. That’s definitely very meaningful to me. I know what its like to lose and to be on the mend. I also know what its like to come out stronger. Art has helped me cope with grief, recover and achieve things I never thought would happen. Maybe it can help them too. I am trying very hard to take everything to the next level. My art is reaching new heights in quality as I focus on specific techniques that represent my brand and the direction I want to go. Less experimentation, more expertise per se. I am teaching acrylic pouring classes. I introduced an entire new line of sculptures and cast resin art. I began showing work for sale in public places for the first time in 5 years. I want to continue to grow. I simply want to continue improving and building back that momentum I had so many years ago. This website was actually started over a year ago and it’s just now getting its groove. It’s the key to my future success. I am glad to see all of these essential parts finally coming together. I have a lot of support from my fans, friends, kids and clients. I am excited to see what amazing opportunities this year brings! Thank you so much for reading my story.