I was born in the High Sierras on the wrong side of a resort town. There, I learned to swim in alpine waters, and when it snowed I played outside in my bathing suit and boots. When my sisters became Olympic hopefuls, we migrated to the Sonoran Desert in pursuit of glory. Their farewell party cake looked like a giant gold medal, “DARE TO DREAM" emblazoned in red and blue frosting.
I went to art school in a colonial town amidst the haunted coastal marshes of Georgia. After graduating with my BFA, I made a living drawing and painting for other people. In the Pacific Northwest, I spent a whole year painting feathers and foliage for a film that never got made. On a different film, I re-created environments from the Kuerner Farm and other Andrew Wyeth imagery. Lots of tall grass and wooden shingles.
When I moved to the Bay Area, I spent a little time working on a Facebook game. It seemed like a compelling frontier at the time—the internet, so-called immersive experiences, social media, and start-up culture. I painted anthropomorphized animals in medieval clothing. That ended up being a real low point. At the office holiday party, in the corner of a grimy pub in SOMA, folks stood around congratulating each other. When our executives ordered a round of Irish Car Bombs for everyone, I left mine on the bar.
After that, I collaborated on a permanent installation for the Sacramento Airport. I made digital paintings inspired by the Northern California landscape that animated on screens mounted to the outside of a 3-story elevator shaft.
Then I got hired to work on a stop-motion film. For two years I painted New York City skylines, seedy downtown theaters, and fictional street scenes set in the 1980’s. Patton Oswalt stopped by one day and told me he liked my work. What a sincerely nice guy. But that film never got made, either. I was pretty deflated after that and considered becoming a furniture maker.
But I just keep painting.