I've been making art as far back as I remember, from my childhood drawings of cuckoo clocks and dinosaurs to the imaginary creatures and landscapes of my high school years. I started taking my work more seriously between 1987-1991 when I studied painting and drawing at The American University in Washington D.C.. Although the university had a small art program, the teachers were excellent. I learned how to utilize planes of light and color and I also gained a grasp of composition by working strictly from life. I'd been painting and drawing from my imagination up to that point, so working from the figure or a still life was a new and challenging experience. Although I found myself at odds with the rigidness and close-mindedness of the academic world after graduating, I eventually gained a profound respect and appreciation for what I had been taught. My imagination now had the backbone and foundation it needed to run free.
I usually start a painting from some event in nature. Once a basic surface is established, my creative instincts kick in and my imagination, memory and intuition takes over. None of the imagery is planned in advance, or if it is, things always change once the paint hits the canvas. Figures and landscapes are gradually pulled out of the crude mess until there is finally a sense of resolution.
I view each of my paintings as part of an unfolding story, although the story often takes unexpected twists and turns. I find it difficult describing my work, since I dislike intellectualizing or dissecting the meaning of my art. It's much more interesting to me when the viewer comes up with their own meanings and interpretations.
I've exhibited my paintings at various galleries between 1992-2005. Although my gallery experiences were fruitful, they were sometimes upsetting and stressful. Lately, however, I'm thinking about showing my work again. In the meantime, it's been fulfilling selling my work privately and directly.
My paintings have naturally evolved, although the atmosphere and themes remain relatively constant. Regardless of what I'm painting, my imagery, as personal as it is, remains secondary to the larger issues of light, color and composition. The figures are merely passing through the mystery and silence of the landscape.
I've been recording music since the late 1980s. Although my painting was initially the more dominant pursuit, both fields have become closely related over the years and they continue to influence and feed off of each other.
One of my earliest memories was listening to the drone of a distant lawnmower echoing through the trees in the backyard of our family home. I suppose you could call it my first ambient soundscape, since the soft drone had a subtle rythym and a calming effect. I became fascinated with electronic sound in the late 1970s when Star Wars was released and the first video games were on the horizon. I wasn't aware of Brian Eno, Cluster and other adventurous music makers at that early age, so Science Fiction films and their soundtracks were the kinds of things that captured my childhood imagination. I also loved my tape recorder which had a built in radio with a short wave band. I'd spend hours searching for strange, otherworldly sounds and I'd sometimes use them as sound effects for my own made-up radio shows. This was far more fun and interesting than playing the piano, which I had been studying a little reluctantly since age 6.
My first synthesizer was the Sequential Circuits Pro-1 which eventually propelled me into the realm of electronic and experimental music. Electronic music in general wasn't warmly embraced in America during the late 70s and a little beyond that, so it was always a thrill discovering musicians who were doing innovative things with sound during my high school years. One of my earliest and lasting influences was Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark. Their first four albums and early B-sides combined innovative sound experimentation with a strong sense of melody and composition. Although my musical interests eventually progressed to more extreme experimentalists, the unique, proto-ambient atmospheres of OMD's early recordings still inspire me to this day.
I started recording my own material around 1988 when my brother let me borrow his Tascam 4-track. I quickly learned how to push the machine to its limits, enjoying the warmth and simplicity it offered. I still prefer my comfortable, primitive recording methods over computer based programs, so my basic setup hasn't changed much in all of these years. I usually start with a simple idea and slowly build on it, which is how I paint. Although I rely heavily on electronics, I always approach music in an organic way. Almost all of my sounds are created at home and they're usually generated by objects within hand's reach. I dislike using pre-programmed sounds or synth patches and I use them rarely. I've also gained a great respect for the piano as the years progressed and it plays an important role in some of my recordings.
My music has evolved from early synth-pop songs to a more subdued, hermetic ambient sound which I find difficult to label or categorize. I used to call it 'ghost ambient' in older interviews. Although I hate labeling what I do, I suppose the term makes sense for a variety of reasons. Many of my recordings are constructed by sampling and looping pure reverb - the "trailing off" or after-effects of the sounds I generate. As a result of this process, unintended sounds, words and phrases sometimes manifest themselves into the music, giving it a haunted quality. Labels aside, my music is always intuitive and personal. Like my painting, it ultimately exists in a private world of its own.