Who are you and what do you do?
I am a professional firefighter / paramedic with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. I have been with the fire department for 27 years. As a Captain of a Rescue unit in a major metropolitan fire department you may be able to imagine the daily stresses involved. Building, painting, designing and creating have always been a stress outlet for me, then I realized some of the things I made, mainly my paintings became more than just stress relief, they became a passion and I began painting purely for the sake of the art.
Why do you do what you do?
My artwork is a personal endeavor. I find it very cathartic and it came to somewhat of a surprise to me that others are interested in what I have created. With retirement approaching, I have been considering a new career as a starving artist!
What is your background?
I grew up in Massachusetts. I came to Jacksonville with the Navy, then after four years, I left the Navy and entered the fire service. After 9/11, I went back into the Navy as a reservist for six years while continuing my career in fire service. I have always had a passion for art but never thought of myself as an artist until recently.
What is integral to your work?
I find myself most creative when I am listening to music. There are times when I will go out to spend time in my shop and before I know it I have been working for several hours and there is a painting I had never thought about sitting before me. To be honest sometimes I have no idea where it comes from.
Explain what you do in a way that would help lay people understand it.
The current focus of my artwork is Resin Art. Resin Art uses Epoxy Resins, paints, dyes, inks and pigments mixed into the resin to be pored over a canvas. This type of art is commonly referred to as flow art or a flowable medium. I take great pride in the fact that build all my own canvases (also referred to as panels). This ensures that each panel that leaves my studio is made with the very best products and built to my exacting specifications. The panels are made from Lauan plywood and birch substrate. I quarter round all the edges, sand, patch, re-sand then prime. I end up with a 2” thick gallery wrapped canvas. The resin flows over the sides smoothly and carries to image over the sides. The substrate provides an area to anchor hanging hardware.
What is unique about epoxy resin is the curing time, as soon as the resin is mixed with a catalyst it begins the curing process. This process can take as little as 5-7 minutes and as long as an hour depending on the type of resin being used. Once the resin starts to “set up” the resin can no longer be manipulated. At that point the painting needs to be covered to prevent contamination and the epoxy will need a minimum of 12 hours to cure to a point that it can be worked with again. If another layer is desired, if there is any contamination or flaws on the surface, the top layer will need to be sanded to allow the new layer something to attach to. Most of my paintings end up with 4-7 layers of resin.
How has your art changed over time? I hope that my artwork has improved. In retrospect I see that I have always attempted to master certain techniques and then move on to the next interest. This can be a double edge sword, allowing for a lot of different experiences but never pushing the boundaries of the art itself. Resin Art has kept my attention and I feel myself entertaining more challenging aspects of the art.
What art do you most identify with? With a wide array of interests, it is hard to identify one specific art form. I love working with different mediums whether its woodworking, painting, stone work, metal work, or just pencil and paper there is so much I would like to experience and create. I like the concept of mixing and matching mediums.
What is your strongest memory of your childhood? I am the youngest of five children. As with most families each child has specific bonds with his or her parents. My father was a professional musician and my siblings all played instruments growing up. By the time I was born, let’s just say the gene pool was I bit low in the music department. My bond with my father tended to be more with hands-on things. My father taught me to do most things with my own hands, from working on cars to building houses. I have discovered that one of the things he taught me is that one’s ability to do things is only limited by your willingness to chance screwing it up. There are only two possible outcomes from trying something new: Success or the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Both outcomes are positives.
St. Johns Magazine