I had the good fortune of having a father who was very smart and very committed to spiritual practice. He walked his talk and I came to know him as an exceptionally compassionate man as well as a very practical man. He was honest to a fault and he demonstrated an “outside the box” awareness that often contradicted many popular views of the time. He was the Chief of Federal Probation and Parole. He was also a college professor and traveled the world speaking on issues of criminal rehabilitation. His core values of truth, honesty and awareness have become mine.

Enculturation into a very non typical American family that included a mother who was an artist and her father, a well known opera tenor, established my professional biases. The family tree contained 12 members who fought in the revolutionary war. Two ancestors, Peregrine White, the first known English child born on the Mayflower in 1620 and Joseph Brant or Thayendanegea, a Mohawk war chief, ancestor of my mother, influenced me in how I viewed the world and the United States, in particular..

With this family background, I launched myself, following my own path, not actively remembering, but never forgetting where I came from. I went to Syracuse University and the University of Illinois earning degrees in Fine Art painting.

In the early 1970’s my wife, 2 friends and I traveled through Mexico for 3 months discovering the archeological and anthropological wonders of the Pre-Columbian world and it’s descendants. For a week, we stayed in a typical Mayan home made of grass, sticks and mud in the Chiapas jungle, within easy travel by mule to a Mayan village. Their hospitality was exceptional and very loving. That experience with the Maya was life changing, I see in retrospect. That trip was the beginning of my deep interests in indigenous cultures, which has now blossomed into an interest in Native Americans, the first people of the Americas, and the incursion into their land by the Europeans.

Shortly after that trip I started teaching and taught for 43 years, retiring the fall of 2013. Life is not about exotic notions or ideas, it is about the day-to-day experience of eating, washing dishes, buying food for the next meal, having heart attacks and growing older. Life is change and movement. How we experience the changes and the “NOW and NOW” of life are really up to us. We can complain about what can’t be changed or embrace it. Not that I don’t complain but I choose YES rather consistently these days. So consistently, it doesn’t seem to be an active choice any longer but rather a life style.

There are also those things that must be transformed in our culture including attitudes toward harmony with nature and our co-habitants on this planet. How does one bring awareness to the neglected and disenfranchised? My route has been through imagery and my art.

Awareness, truth and honesty are the perfect foundation for art. Awareness includes everything and so does art. Photography for example, is about being in the “decisive” moment. With the new technology we can be in the moment and at the same time approach recreating our experience of that moment. We can be less dependent on the machine to determine our final result, at the same time trust it completely to describe the world as it is. In the act of photographing can we discover deeper expressions of our connectedness to life? Life reveals itself and are we there for the experience?

Marcel Duchamp said in 1967, “Since Courbet, it’s been believed that painting is addressed to the retina. That was everyone’s error. Before, painting had other functions: it could be religious, philosophical, moral. It’s absolutely ridiculous! It has to change; it hasn’t always been like this.” Though Duchamp has had a tremendous influence on contemporary art, this observation has been missed, and I think it is essential to the driving force of art today to be socially responsible.

Art to be art has to be a result of skill expressing the inexplicable that touches us deeply, a tough task in a world that does not support such a notion. The connectedness of all our lives is rarely experienced within our culture. To have attention on one’s self is the norm.

My work with “metaphysical collages” is about the outsider, the “not included”. It also contains the truth of our history and exposes the myths about people we have made our heroes. It includes the political and spiritual wisdom that we actively attempted to exterminate. The body of my work has a religious, philosophical and moral function as well as demonstrating the skill that supports the retinal, the act of organizing the two dimensional surface. The means and ends are in harmony.

Awareness of processes and content is essential to the images I create.