I am really looking forward to meeting, hanging out and working with all of you! I am not sure how to begin. I live in Portland Oregon, teach part-time at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), garden, do yoga, hike and make art. Cooking and red wine also play a part in my life. I am married and have 2 step daughters and a fabulous grown daughter …. who spent a summer at Dartmouth and is now in DC. With an aunt in Maine I occasionally go to Arcadia National Park during the summer. For money, I teach contemporary art history (I know that sounds like an oxymoron … think art since 1945) but my professional practice is studio art. I mostly make Public Art and Art in Public. So I have worked on large collaborative projects that involve landscape architects and engineers, as well as, temporary and unofficial things like my most recent midnight poster project Look Up. These posters sprung from my anger at a Coal Power Plant that continues to release mercury into our air and the green washing done the local power company.
My work in very interdisciplinary and often involves moving heavy objects. The primary focus is the interface between natural and built systems. I have a long history of collaboration with a video artist Pamela Chipman. One of my favorite joint projects is Beneath Our Feet. We filmed the inside a huge sewer pipe that went under the Willamette River and then continued through various neighborhood. We made a video and projected it on a large outdoor screen in parks, empty lots and schools along the route. I hope Lydia will be interested in looking at BOF.
The experience that I always carry with me is the years I worked as a union carpenter. After getting a MA in Art History at the University of Maryland (I grew up along the Chesapeake Bay), I lived 2 years in West Virginia (mining community) and then moved to the west coast. As a struggling artist in Portland, I decided to try something completely different and enrolled in the Carpenters Apprentice program. All of a sudden I was building bridges and high rises – plus welding, rigging cranes and climbing up 30’ walls with 25 lbs bolts. It took me 5 years to get through the 4 year program but I made it and became a “journey man”.
My experience of the thrills and dangers involved in high stakes work changed by life and my art for ever. It also led to a series of installations and performances called “Art at Work”.
I have not worked as a hard hat for many years but I continue to have admiration for the men and women who labor at unsung jobs. Now I do more urban planning. My current project is helping to design an urban green street.