My introduction to a career in the art marketplace was through the field of Illustration. With a BFA degree in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design (1975), I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and plugged into the art scene. There was a lot of activity in the Boston area then with the growth of the high-tech, publishing and health care industries. I was immersed in illustration work but I also had my eyes on what was going on in the fine art world. I often went to gallery openings and open studios, and took courses and workshops to hone my fine art skills. I also took time to do more gallery-oriented painting and concentrated on exhibiting several times per year.
My fine art work is not much different than my illustration. I have always been a painter of realism and I have worked in oils since my early days as an Illustrator. I have illustrated a wide variety of subject matter including nature, health issues, politics, music, financial topics, historical events, cooking themes and people. Portraiture is an important aspect of both worlds. I have received many assignments to paint celebrities for magazines, program booklets, book covers, posters, etc. I’m often asked to visualize the over-riding concept of the article or book. With all of these influences in my work, it feels natural to experiment with lots of different approaches to my fine art work. There is more freedom to take chances. That usually leads to a bolder statement. In this spirit, I am working larger and I’m sometimes working in multiples.
Working as an Illustrator has taught me some valuable skills, such as meeting deadlines and working with several people who have veto power over my ideas. But you rarely meet the client; the files are sent digitally. When I’m granted a commission to do a fine art portrait, I enjoy having the opportunity to meet the subject and to bring something of their personality into the painting. In the end, instead of one’s work appearing in a magazine, book or billboard, it is hanging in someone’s home, place of business or in a museum.