Making Rocks & Trees
As a kid I'd found a passion for building models and dioramas. I've already detailed those beginnings as an artist on a separate page, "My Portfolio Page - 1982 to 1992." By the time I was 17 years old all I wanted to DO was to make dioramas for a living. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh was only employer in the area for this skill. Truthfully, as a teenager I had fuzzy memories of the place as I had only been there a few times as a kid. However, a diorama of a Mandrill ape had stuck with me. As I began to figure out just wanted I wanted to DO with my life I had a chance encounter that connected the dots.
Some friends and I took a road trip to Poland, Ohio for the sole purpose of shopping at a gaming and hobby shop that dealt in game pieces used in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I was particularly eager to collect unpainted 25mm figures that I could then detail. Towards the end of high school I had a little trading system going. I'd trade a painted in detail figurine for unpainted ones. All I wanted was more and more of these miniatures so I could perfect how I painted them. Anyway, it was there that I saw my very first diorama for sale.
The idea to make a living creating dioramas had occurred at about the same time, so seeing them for sale caused a light bulb to go off over my head. I knew how long it took to make them, so I knew you'd only be able to do a few special ones at a time. I asked the clerk whether or not people made real livings doing this as I was trying to figure out how to do so myself. That was when it happened. In a very snide, and condescending way he said, "These are made by retired folks and only sell every once in a while. The only place that would pay people to do this are museums, and you'll not get a chance to do that. So. Good luck."
And that is the exact moment I desired to do just that. I could clearly see that mandrill diorama too as I made the connection. The journey from there to this page can be found on that link below.
Link to Website
Lensbaby & The Mandrill
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History
The Grand Stairwell of the Carnegie Museums
Dr Jay Apt - CMNH Director
From the Stone Age to the Space Age
Towards the end of the 90s I was literally standing at a table making a pile of fake rocks when it occurred to me that I needed to retrain and learn some new skills. I'd seen a magazine focused on the exhibit industry and they'd talked about the new "computerization" of modern design and fabrication. With that in mind I enrolled in a night/weekend program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in their Computer Animation & Multimedia program. I knew exactly ZERO about computers going in but learned quickly as it was pretty straight forward stuff "back then." Suffice it to say that I learned a lot of new, cool stuff such as animation, video & audio editing, graphics production and an assortment of other things. Most importantly was learning how to build and use computers.
There was a certain, very grumpy older gentleman who'd always harass me about going back to school. "Why are you wasting your time? You'll NEVER use that stuff here," he'd grump at me. Honestly, I believed he was right so prepared to search for new work outside of the museum. Then they hired a new Director, Dr. Jay Apt and the museum literally rocketed from the Stone Age to the Space Age.
On his first tour of the actual exhibits on display he came to a large wall mural that depicted an earlier NASA project. It went on in detail about how "In the Future" something called Skylab would orbit the earth where it would be an amazing platform of discovery. Did I mention that this was in the later 90s that he was seeing this? Yeah, Skylab actually crashed to earth in 1979.
The irony of it all was when things overturned in the Exhibits Department and I was one of the few original staff members to remain. One day I found a formal memo to "Report to the Director's Office immediately." And that is how I had the opportunity to develop a new mulitimedia section. It was one of the most talented bunch of artists that I've ever had the pleasure to work with. It was an amazing time to work on innovative concepts in exhibit design. While not everyone liked all the new changes, and some concepts fell flat, we did create some really fun stuff that worked for it's time period and audience.
Link to Website
Graphics, Movie & Interactives Production - 1998 to 2007
Computer Driven Displays & Research Devices
World's First Autonomous Robot Tour Guide
An Exapmple of the Clips Shown on the Robot
Installing a T-rex
The End of the "Old" Dinosaur Hall
Graphics Design & Production
Computer Controlled Audio & Light Shows
Following My Passion
In 2003 I bought my very first digital SLR camera body, a Canon EOS 10D. It arrived in the mail the day before I went on a trip to Maui. Little did I know how this purchase was going to change my life. The entire rest of this site is the result of that awakening. You see, while I'd been in the "arts" since I was a child I honestly never felt like an "Artist." On that trip to paradise I discovered that everything I'd learned as a "professional artist" gelled when I looked through that lens.
It became my total passion.
Then I met my wife. We eloped and had a child eleven months later. I became a stay at home parent and began the most formative and rewarding decade of my life. Having had this incredible chance to have a wife and child, and being able to raise her together, is now who I am.
I've not been idle though, as this website attests to. I've honed and perfected my craft and am so grateful to be able to do so. I don't waste time these days.