When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I always would draw and my favorite game was building fantasy structures that my dolls and cat would live in. I would play for hours with bricks and stack them to create imaginary buildings, strangely, not so different to what I do now as a practicing artist. Art was the thing I was the best at. It has always made me feel centered and comforted in difficult times.
Did you go to school for art? Did you teach yourself?
I was very fortunate, at around eleven years old a neighbor in Lewes, England, suggested I go to Saturday morning art classes…which where in Brighton College of Art, some 20 miles from where I lived…The classes where held in a former school, and housed the graduate painting department of the collage and this Saturday morning art class. So from an early age I was around the smell of oil paint, large cold and mysterious spaces, and the energy that is part of art school. At high school I was fortunate to have six-art faculty on three campuses of Priory school, in Lewes. In England the teaching of the arts is a vital part of the fabric of education, and I was lucky to go to museums and galleries at an early age.
Why did you decide to concentrate on sculpture?
The pivotal time was going to Egypt in 1973. My mother, never really liked Christmas, so we would go to far away places during that time. The curious thing was in 1973, Egypt was coming out of a war, this made the two week experience, unique, we were just 17 people everywhere we went in Egypt, it was like we had come across each historical structure for the first time. Very profound. The experience of seeing temples carved of living rock, which where sculpted, painted and where a union of art and architecture has made a lasting influence and directed my interest in installation art or as the Mattress Factory Museum states it, art that you can walk into.
Why are color and pattern so important to you?
All colors are important one color needs another to make it be that color. It is the interrelationships of color. In my work I have used red a great deal, for its passion and vibrancy, also blue, for its calm and stillness, both these colors are the dominant form in my new work Synchronicity of Color.
What's the hardest thing that's happened to you in your life? And how did it help you in your work?
Both my parents died when I was quite young. My father when I was 6 ½ and my mother when I was 20. As an only child, and growing up predominantly with my mother, this loss was big. Fortunately my mother taught me independence, and a belief in myself. I had a lot of help from friends, and so now, my friends are like my family. Sometimes the hardest thing makes a person.
What's the nicest/warmest/weirdest/funniest rejection you've ever received?
The hardest thing, being cut from my mothers will…not such a big thing really, but as an only child, it was hard to have your main icon of your family, seemingly reject you. She gave it to a great cause, she left her money to Howard University in Washington D.C. However, at that time, I was entering graduate school at Yale, and it just seemed wrong. So I fought the wishes of my mother, and in the end, I got a portion and so did Howard University. Which is the best of all situations. The thing it taught me was to stand up for what I believe in.
Do you have a favorite exhibit of yours that has been on display from over the years?
It is always the last one that you have made; it is so close to you and so big in ones focus. My favorite is; Synchronicity of Color made this year.
Can you give me a quote that I can hang up on my wall ‘o quote in my bedroom?
A lovely lady, Mrs. Moore in Elgin, Texas recently gave me a framed embroidered quote. It has an image of a large tree and four birds on the branches of the tree. The quote says, “Go out on a limb, that is where the fruit is”. When she saw it, she immediately thought of me, and my risk all attitude to life.
Are you Marvelous, Fabulous, Kooky or Zany?
Got to be FABULOUS… if I don’t thinks so, no one else will, and it makes life fun and very exciting.