a) I’m 30 years old and live in Portland, Oregon. My sole occupation is a focused attempt at making a living through my glasswork. It has its ups and downs, and I can choose to allow myself as much free time as I’d like, which is convenient. Unfortunately, I’m way harder on myself than any boss could ever be.
q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?
a) I never made plans or goals of any kind regarding my future, other than temporary deadlines or general efforts towards bettering my life and work. The hope that my decisions are the ones that will lead me and those around me towards happiness and satisfaction has been my only extension in this regard. I think that is exactly the reason behind my becoming a creative person, or artist. Apparently it was a “default setting” of some kind. My parents are not “artists” in any traditional sense, but they are happy people.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a) Wood, actually. It’s so soft and forgiving. I’m a terrible woodworker, too! But I would have most likely become a carpenter if I wasn’t a glassblower. The glassmaking process is so immediate and the glass itself is so hard, fragile, and unyeilding, that there can be little room for error. There is a tactile sensuality to wood that I find difficult to achieve with glass as well, although I am beginning to try and overcome that. Perhaps the sheer difficulty of using glass as an expressive material is part of the draw for me, besides its inherent visual characteristics of light and form… fascinating and dazzling as they may be.
q) How would you describe your style?
a) If left unchecked, I have a tendency towards the baroque and gothic. I can’t seem to control it, despite varying degrees of success in experiments designed to lead me in a new direction. I find the spare, architectural elements of modern design very appealing, but I cannot force the adaptation. While efficient in communicating a “clean” look, and calming in opposition to the chaos of the everyday (especially urban) landscape, it can often be sterile and lacking in personality. You can tell a lot about me by looking at my work, for better or worse. The highest compliment I ever receive is when people tell me that they’ve never seen anything like it.
q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?
a) None that I can think of. I find the glassblowing process itself restrictive enough, with “the right way” to do things and the fact that it’s so easy to imitate someone else’s work, once you’ve seen it done. I enjoy bringing my latest personal obsessions to the process, rather than bringing the process to the obsession or worse, making the process the obsession.q) What are you working on at present?
a) I am between big glass projects, working on some of the many other things that the “occupation” demands: my website, the shop, improving my photography setup, etcetera. When it is time to embark on another campaign, I will have to decide between glass that makes sound or glass that makes electricity. Perhaps it can do both. Either way, I will need it to (at least ostensibly) perform a function of some kind and move about, preferably with the illusion of perpetual motion… But there’s no need to get ahead of myself.
q) What about recent sources of inspirations?
a) The spinning wheel and seismograph projects, like the projects just mentioned, were the result of an ongoing fascination with outdated mechanics. My goal is to “update” the technology by using an otherwise impractical medium like glass to place them in a new context, as if to thank the object or invention for the contribution it made to our lives and understanding of the world. As the sculptures become more interactive and functional, I want them to also to appear as if they would shatter themselves if they were ever used for their intended purpose.
q) What are some of your obsessions?
a) Nature, mechanics, engineering, the form/function dialogue, Duchamp and the Surrealists, the glassblowing process (darn it), swimming in creeks, and my cat.
q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?
a) I don’t show at many galleries, as I find the relationship rather complex and sometimes difficult. When I do, it is because I support the individual behind the gallery and their work, as well as the other artists represented, regardless of medium. I have work at The Museum of Contemporary Craft here in Portland, and have also shown at the Guardino Gallery and Manette Fine Arts here. I have shown at the Michelle O’Conner Gallery in the Blue Studio in San Francisco, as well as the Busacca Gallery and Paxton Gate there. I have had work in Barney’s New York, Neiman Marcus Dallas, and Bergdorf Goodman, all through Douglas Little of D.L. & Co. I would very much like to show someday at the DeVera Gallery in either New York or San Francisco.q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
a) E-mail is great.
q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?
a) Just make your own work. It’s great to admire other’s accomplishments, style, or acheivements, especially if they’ve been recognized and/or made a lot of money, but they didn’t get where they are by copying anyone. Originality cannot be undervalued. Don’t forget to have fun, either…
q) Who are your favorite artists?
a)Tim Hawkinson, Tom Friedman, Brian Eno, Max Ernst, William Morris (the glassmaker), Marcel Duchamp, Josiah McElheny, Bandhu Scott Dunham, George Ohr, John Currin, Richard Marquis, Richard Braughtigan, David Aurora, and a hundred other people… my friends.
q) What books are on your nightstand?
a) I’m ashamed to admit it, but I suppose it’s rather obvious from this interview. I’d never read it before and have always been curious. I saw it at a yard sale and bought it for a quarter. I admit it, I like it a lot: The Fountainhead. There, I said it.q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?
a) Beer and skateboarding. Books and plants.