|Photo courtesy of Doug Benton
(© 2006/ used with permission)
|June 2008: Art-A-Holics art show @
Java Joe's - Des Moines, IA
I always figured the best place to start any story is at the very beginning:
I was born on December 27, 1978 in Des Moines, Iowa and have lived in
this area all my life.
As a kid, I think art did come naturally but was usually just one item on a
long list of interests. I played a lot of baseball, basketball, football, tennis,
and track, plus I was into cars, food, music, and art. But art was like any
other elective in school; the higher the grade you were in, the more
specialized the classes became and the fewer students enrolled in them.
So in about 8th grade, I started to really enjoy art classes and kept
signing up. In high school, it seemed my medium would be graphite. And
actually, that didn't really go away. Even now, I do figure studies and all
my preliminary work in graphite. Anyway, when it came time to decide
about college, I enrolled in the Commercial Art program at Des Moines Area
Community College in Ankeny, Iowa. Actually that happened after a year of
getting school out of my system by working multiple jobs. But anyway...
...I came in to DMACC knowing I wanted to pursue some kind of art-related
career but pretty much clueless on the specifics. I was not too
computer-literate in 1998, but I learned the programs. I did OK in Design,
Photography, and Illustration classes but struggled in Typography, mostly
because it was severely boring. I still didn't know quite what direction I
was headed in long-term. Mostly, I liked working with traditional media. I
couldn't really see myself in an office, at least not a usual one. And then at
the beginning of the second semester, I made a HUGE decision.
I signed up for Airbrush Class! I had never used and airbrush before but it
sounded cool. Plus our teacher was awesome and he knew what he was
doing, since he ran an airbrush shop in real life! His name was Shawn
Palek, and we're still good friends to this day. I got the hang of airbrush
pretty quickly. I loved the speed and all the things it could do. I started
reading airbrush magazines and seeing all the cool work people did. Which
is when I discovered pin-up art. My favorite artist was Jennifer Janesko,
and she still is. But now, she's a friend too. That wouldn't start for several
years, however. I needed a summer job so got on board with Hollywood
Caricatures, drawing..... caricatures, at Adventureland.
I learned that pretty quickly too and for awhile it seemed that my future
might actually be in caricatures as an illustrator or something like that. But
I always liked doing bigger, more in-depth work. I always dabbled in
pin-up paintings but never really showed them and didn't think I could
possibly make it, could I? As I continued to develop my own techniques
and style, people started noticing. In early 2007, I was invited to my first
real art show, where one of my paintings won Best Of Show 1st Runner-Up
and I also got my first licensing deal with Up Your Art. The burnout from the
caricature business had set in pretty severely and I "retired" from
caricaturing later that year.
Since 2007, I've been doing what you see here. I've continued to refine my style and learn what types of themes I like to
work with best. I've been fortunate to get the attention of some wonderful professional models as well as local girls who
are just getting their careers off the ground too. I try to turn out new work regularly and keep exploring different
techniques and mediums that can enhance what I already do. Art is always a challenge, but very rewarding too.