I am a visual storyteller. Whether it is a single panel sketch or an animated film my work strives to share a common human trait…to tell a story.
Animation is my preferred medium as the word’s very meaning is “to give life”. I take pleasure in using traditional medium like a pencil or brush and combining the marks with the latest technology to develop imagery that is vibrant with movement and sound. Satire and irony are the genres I find most effective with my animation. By observing life I discover these ironic twists and turns that offer us lessons and unique story opportunities.
Currently, I am exploring the stories of others and finding unique ways to tell them. By collaboration, I find new paths for my own coffers. My last project focused on the art of clogging, a unique Appalachian dance form. I have partnered with Bill Nichols the grandfather of contemporary clogging. It is through his wisdom, talent and generosity of time that I have grown considerably as a storyteller. This project has not only brought me closer to an authentic American dance but help inspire a new generation of dancers to continue this tradition into the next millennium.
I find that great stories never change but take form in new venues. My goal is to continue to grow and foster new ways of giving life to this unique human trait.
My teaching and art are fused into one stream. I believe it is essential to share my philosophy and work with a new generation of artists. This allows for improvisation and new directions for the student and at the same time gives me new perspectives. My classroom is constantly engaged in concept and research along with learning techniques and craft. Concepts should always drive the technology and incorporate time for students to research an idea before it is executed in any specific medium. The digital world has played an important role in developing research methods. At the start of each semester, I have my students build their own individual course blog. This is the platform that drives our creative process and to document the various paths that a student may take to pursue each project. This opens up critiques not only in the classroom, but communities all over the world. The blog format not only allows students to organize their thoughts and visual progress, but to open up new directions and explore different and new media.
Technology plays an important role in my classroom and I am constantly pursuing new avenues to express my ideas. However, I feel it is important that students have time to push their knowledge and expand their vocabulary with digital applications as well as traditional media such as classical animation. Concepts should always drive technology but there should be a healthy development of both so that the student can develop and grow into a complete artist.
I demonstrate my theory by illustrating my concepts through current projects and ideas. My research also connects to the past and I shed light on artists based in a contemporary and historical context. It is critical to make connections and find precedence within the vernacular of visual, literary, and cinematic and theatrical arts. Producing work within an academic environment lends to connections to scholars within our immediate domain. I strive for my students to initiate such connections within the intellect of our community. Human interaction is just as valid if not more rewarding than pursuing cyberspace or book learning alone. These relationships build bridges and allow the artist to foster critical communication skills that will continue well into their careers beyond the classroom.
I strive to reflect these principles in my portfolio as well as my students. The means are just as important as the ends in producing great art and students.