In 2012 I set up a scholarship called the One Sweet World Fund. To be eligible for the scholarship a student must be in my art class and also be in band, and they need to be planning on majoring in either art or music in college. Each year I will give 10% of my artwork sales from this website (both prints and originals) to the fund. My goal is to raise $100,000 by the time I retire from teaching in 20 years.
Take a second to read my bio and check out the website, and if there is any way you can help out, please contact me.
'Those who can, do. And those who can't teach.'
I work very hard to prove this quote wrong every day, as I push myself to be a better art teacher, artist and person.
I've been making art of some kind ever since I can remember. For me it started with coloring books when I was very young. I loved to make each page as perfect as possible, freakishly trying to stay perfectly within every line.
In high school I drew on my own time (mainly pictures of girls I had crushes on, it’s a little creepy I know) and took no art classes at all. I was what my students would call a jock-prep.
I was very focused on wrestling and dreamed of one day wrestling in the Olympics. Although that dream would never come true I did manage to win a state championship in high school and became a 3x All-American and a National Champion in college.
You may wonder how wrestling and art go together? I always tell the story of the Samurai Warrior, who used some kind of art form to balance out the warrior side of their personality. In high school and my first few years of college my personality was very unbalanced. My entire life revolved around wrestling, I received a scholarship to wrestle at the number 1 ranked Jr. College in the country. The problem was I was only at school to wrestle and had no real interest in my studies. I placed a lot of pressure on myself as an athlete and when I didn't live up to my own expectations it broke me. I started hanging out with the wrong crowd and looked for ways to forge a new identity for myself that was separate and completely unrelated to that of 'the wrestler'.
It was around this time that I found my way back to art. As part of a scholarship that I got to attend a University in Oregon, I had to pick a major, and after flunking out of the Jr. college I decided that if I was going to go back to school I was going to pick a major that I was passionate about (even if I had no clue how I would make a living as an artist.)
It’s funny how when you are interested in a subject how much fun learning can be. The strange thing is that this new enthusiasm for learning spread to all of my other classes as well and I soon found myself on the Dean’s List. Artistically I was years behind all of my classmates because while I had been taking 3 P.E. classes a semester, running the halls of my high school in a plastic suite to lose weight for wrestling, all the other students had been taking 3 art classes a semester perfecting their skills.
I'm a fairly hard worker so I made ground quickly except for in my drawing class. I found out how the support of an instructor or 'lack thereof' can have a huge impact on a student. I was interested in realism and drawing pictures of Jim Morrison and Jerry Garcia, while my instructor wanted us to make...well I'm still not quite sure what he wanted but I was not producing it.
I think one of the reasons I decided to be a high school art teacher was because of the huge effect that art had on my own life. It created inspiration for me at a time that all hope seemed to be lost. It helped me to find balance in my life.
The first thing that I decided once I left college was that I would never again make artwork that is not true to me, or to please someone else or to make a sale. As I started my teaching career I also wanted to give my students strong drawing skills while at the same time encouraging them to be creative while following their own passions and interests with every piece they create. I don't want to force my students to make artwork that I like, I try to help them make artwork that they can be proud of and that represents their personalities.
Secondly, I wanted my students to see that I was passionate about the subject that I teach, and to see that being an art teacher/artist was a part of who I am and not just this cool job were you get summer vacations off.
Finally it was important to me that they realize that every piece of art that I make is for me and me alone, much of my artwork hangs in my home and as I'm sure you have noticed much of my work has a similar theme, drawings and paintings of musicians.
Music has been a huge influence for my artwork, especially the energy that is created by a great live performance. An interest in music came into my life in college at the time that I was trying to create a new identity for myself. I have had many 'obsessions' as my music tastes changed over the years.
My first taste of a great live performance was Phish in 96 followed the next by The Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge in 98. From that moment on I was hooked. There is something about the entire concert experience that I just love. From the lots before the show, to the energy and excitement that you feel when the house lights go down, the pure thrill of being so engulfed in the music that you forget about everything else for that moment in time. In the last few years I’ve really been getting into The String Cheese Incident and Umphrey’s McGee as well as many other bands, I really like just about anyone that can put on a great live performance, that leaves me tired from dancing and wanting more. I’ve been to over 200 concerts in the last 11 years which takes some work over here on the left coast. Each concert is a new experience and adventure and I have met some of the nicest people I know at concerts.
These are the events that have shaped my life and made we who I am today. I am a teacher, I am an artist, I am a wrestler, and I am a lover of music and travel.