When I was growing up, I watched my older brother John, draw and paint and make things. He was an artist. I didn't have a clue that I could do it too.
I was in my 20s before I made my first brush stroke. I had just gotten out of the service and was paying a visit to an artist friend while he was working in his studio. He set up a canvas for me and gave me some paints and said to paint something.
It was a moment I will always remember.
That was in October of 1968.
1969 changed a lot of lives...Some because of Viet Nam, other because of Woodstock...Mine changed because I started becoming known as an artist, of sorts.
I was going into bars with a pocket full of Magic Markers and for the price of a beer, I would paint your sneakers to look like the American Flag. It was a very political fashion statement, then...and I was doing OK. Got good and drunk doing this, too!
I started working on canvas around 1970. Then in 1979 something changed my direction.
I went to the post office to buy the stamp that was issued for Martin Luther King. He was a hero of mine. The stamp showed a portrait of the man but as far as stamps went, it was a very uninteresting piece of postage.
I thought I could do better.
I took the paintings I had completed at that stage of my career and added titles and denominations to them, as well as painted perforations.
I have been painting my own brand of postage stamps ever since.
I use the stamp motif for my more auto-biographical paintings. Sometimes I just do something whimsical. But all of the paintings have a surreal or mysterious undertone to them.
I have been painting now for almost 50 years and have painted about 100 canvases that I feel are worth signing... It feels like I should have done more, but painting has always been the 2nd seat on the bus... Raising a family and having a business took most of my time for the first 20 years.
I continued o make my living doing murals and custom paint techniques, with enough success to support ourselves.
Then my wife said that she thought that she married a fine artist and I wasn't being one any longer...It was a cold shot and it worked!
About 1990 I made a stronger effort towards my art. I changed my direction from being business oriented to art oriented. I began painting canvases - not in a stamp format. I was developing narrative pictures with strange tales to them. I was enjoying the freedom from the stamp motif. And my business didn't seem to suffer from the change of direction.
Years passed by and in 2007, due to illness and life's trials, I STOPPED PAINTING!!! Lost all interest and the pictures were not coming. More than 10 years went by before I picked up the brushes again.
I found that I had an entirely different style to my work and found more enjoyment working than I ever had in the past.