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Men don't cry. Men don't show emotion. Men handle their own problems…

I grew up in rural New York, near the St. Lawrence River. My family used wood stoves as our main source of heat, within a 150 year old uninsulated farm house. My little brother and I used a chainsaw to cut-up logs, blocked wood with a 12 lb. steel splitting maul, and hauled it into the house—all part of a normal winter. My Dad exemplifies the rugged man—a bridge construction worker, welder, mechanic, hunter, wrestler, US Army Staff Sergeant and motorcycle rider. He often wears a flannel shirt in the middle of winter with the sleeves rolled and a vest, while chewing on a cigar. I was often afraid of my Dad. Traditional country values characterized my childhood. The man of the house is seen as the provider, and never talks about feelings. I remained quiet.

My parents have always supported my artistic ability, it is in the family. Shy, quiet and independent, I can easily sit and draw for hours. The process of creating art has become my way showing the world my inner thoughts and feelings. I do not have the ability to easily express emotions in words. My work is often done with india ink; it forces me to commit to a present state of mind because it cannot be erased. Black and white allows a greater focus on discovering raw emotions. The use of color provides a transition from discovery into the ability to express those emotions. The detail in my work is an attempt to maintain some sort of control over what I am experiencing. I believe all artists need to have a good understanding of craftsmanship.

The creative process gives me an outlet for constructively understanding myself and my surroundings. It is like therapy. Influenced by nature, my work often takes on organic forms. I struggle with masculine stereotypes; the need to have the biggest truck, the badass Harley, or the macho personality. I wrestle with the popularity of the extrovert and the ability to speak a thousand words a minute. I fear not being able to converse with people in an intelligent manner. I will continue the process of bringing peace and understanding to the world inside my head; it allows me to function. I am learning how to talk about feelings.

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