1987 to 2021: Cold War, Nation Building, Global War on Terror
I try to answer street photographer Garry Winogrand's question "How do you make a photograph more beautiful than what was photographed" by imaginatively reinterpreting my personal snap-shots from my time in the Army. I use artistic techniques and composition to emphasize specific elements of the scene that initially captured my attention and demonstrate the divine in commonplace circumstances. I hope this approach will motivate others to create from their everyday surroundings.
My creative journey winds through four overlapping roles: Artist, Landscape Architecture Student, Military Officer, and Volunteer Leader.
Artist: In High School in the lower Rio Grande Valley, I improved my drawing skills by working from black-and- white photos of the Viet Nam War. For art class, I had to generate three drawings per week and I would scour the library for books and magazines with military themed photos. This affinity with the military led me to enlist in the Army Reserves for the GI Bill.
Landscape Architecture Student: At Texas A&M University, I studied Landscape Architecture to include a semester in Tuscany. In Italy I was introduced to the works of Giotto, Chiumbi, Botticelli, and Michelangelo. I learned how these artists depicted the Madonna as a representation of everyday life.
Military Officer: Once commissioned as an active-duty officer, I had the opportunity to travel across Central and South America to include Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, and Suriname. This allowed me to see people from a wide spectrum of society, viz. people in everyday situations, government functionaries, and Latin American military officers. These experiences and the images I captured continue to feed my current artistic work.
Volunteer Leader: While stationed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, I lead volunteer teams to build a school room in Juarez, Mexico. While stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, I lead teams of active-duty soldiers to perform repairs on veterans' homes. These volunteer experiences opened my eyes to the everyday divinity in each person.
Artist: At the tail end of my Army career, I was able to return to Europe and rekindle my appreciation of art, landscape architecture, places, and the people that dwell in those spaces. I began to take photos and draw again and to submit my photographs and drawings to various exhibitions and competitions around the United States.
The "everyday Icons" I am submitting for the AVAFEST, represent my most recent work and are part of my search to develop a technically good and recognizable style. My long-term goal is to be sponsored by a gallery in Texas.
In the near term, I want to continue my theme of "Everyday Icons" and generate enough "Icons" to rival the old 13th Century & Giotto room in the Uffizi.
CV and portrait of the artist available upon request.