Contact / About me
My journey into the world of art/design/creativity begin at an early age. According to my mother I was drawing on the walls as soon as I discovered something that could leave a mark. The walls of the basement became my canvas. I moved to paper at some point and have not really stopped.
I have a number of “aha” moments that have been key to the changes in my path.
The first was after a visit to my wife’s cousins in Walla Walla, WA in the summer of around 1982. He worked at that time as a librarian at the state penitentiary and his house was stuffed full of books. I remember pulling off the shelf the book that changed it all for me. It was an Illustrators Annual—a compilation of all the illustration produced in a year in the United States. I graduated from Principia College in 1979 (yes that far back) with a degree in fine art. My idea of what an artist is was you painted the world around you, showed the work in a gallery, sold some if you were lucky and then when out and created more art. What the illustrators annual did for me was to show me an entire world of art I knew little of. I remember a light bulb bursting on inside my head when I realized this is what I wanted to do. I set out to find a school to get training in this area. I settled on The Center for Creative Studies (add link) in Detroit and studied there for two years developing a portfolio of work to get into the business of commercial art.
I did that for a bit over ten years. Intense and demanding years in which I honed my skills to a razor sharp edge—I could produce “art” quickly and within the strict demands of the art directors.
The second “aha” moment came after I left the world of commercial art for the world of teaching art at the college level. In 1995 I took a job at Principia College in the art department and started a journey that continues to this day with some significant changes in that time.
I started work on an advanced degree (the process of purchasing letters such as MA or MFA)—an intense study in an area of choice and mine was drawing. It was during a drawing class that the second light bulb burst to full intensity in my mind when I realized that art is about ideas—the transformation of ideas, any idea into forms. It was during an exercise where we had to draw for 30 minutes on a piece of imaginary paper with an imaginary drawing tool that this happened. For me art was seeing an image in your mind and then reproducing it on paper. I was finally able to work past this to understand the the process of working from an idea to a final piece of work was a journey that was not presubscribed, could not been seen in advance you needed to trust what was developing and coming to life under you hand on the paper.
Teaching has all kinds of benefits (and a few drawbacks) and one of them is to continually experiment with projects to find the best processes in your own work and in the work of the students.
The biggest benefit for me has the opportunity to teach during study abroad programs where I have traveled repeatedly to Greece, Turkey, and Italy. I have also taken trips to India and Nepal.
While my journey is still underway my current work covers a wide range of areas of work—sports photography, illustration, graphic design, printmaking, drawing and from time to time painting. And when I am not in my art studio I squeeze in time to get into my wood shop and crank out some tables and lamps and other creations with wood.
Photo by Barrett Anderson
12761 Fessler Rd, Dow, IL 62022