On The Verge submission - 00pace
I was born in 1975. It must a been a good year considering the alternatives. I was born in Spartanburg S.C. on May the 2nd. I think I started in a hard spot so I could leave a good story. My parents had no other children, they always said they did not want to mess with perfection. It did not really make sense because as I grew up I was always messed with. My dad a bit of a backyard inventor and side line Hells Angel was a relocated Hill Billy. Charlotte is where I grew till 18. He and my mother, a very innocent and morally correct individual, went to great lengths to pull off the task of raising this wound up ball of spit and fire. I have lots of stories about things parents should never let a kid do. These stories built me.
I graduated high school went to CPCC for a year or two and then hit the road. I hitch hiked across America a couple of times figured out that the worst thing in life is to fear living and unfortunately also found out that most people do just that. Traveling around with no money per say afforded me the ability to find opportunities. I constantly arrived at the wildest of possibilities discovering time and time again that good people are every where and all you have to do is meet them. The road taught me to see truth, it is what I used to survive. I learned a hand full of skills but seeing the truth in people is what guided my way.
After I traveled for a few years in America finding a good seasonal job guiding rafts I went to Costa Rica during the winters and worked on some tropical rivers. I learned that America has a lot more problems than it knows about. Our world view and perceived superiority are ugly to me. We are deaf to the pain we cause and are greedy to the point of poisoning our own lives. Central America, Mexico, and South America are the places that have endured great pain and poverty but have cultivated a far richer view of freedom than we have. I came back to America after five years of traveling through out Latin America to start College because I wanted to take advantage of opportunities that were open to me and not the majority of the people with whom I lived.
The University of Asheville North Carolina is the place I decided to go. Not because of the school but because of the town. I felt it to be an oasis of culture in a see of repression, the hole in the bible belt. I can not say that my education at UNCA was fulfilling, actually the contrary. In my opinion the university should axe its sports programs and put the money into liberal arts as it is a liberal arts college. What a waste but then that’s me the artist of waste.
I put the wheel back into reinventing and then added some meaning about odd concepts relative to its use and to our really useless behavior. Trash and refuse are goldmines that lead back to the consumer. Back to the ending of the imagination that tossed it out in the first place. Disposable things beget disposable beings. I came to UNCA full and ready to go. The bent screwdriver and the broken hammer that accompanied a sleepy and dead sculpture department became the tools that developed my idea of cosmic humor. When the world allows for such juxtaposition as a university education charging me thousands and giving me a broken hammer to build with, well then that’s funny. The next thing to remember is if you want to create then by definition be creative. That is what it always comes down to. I could not receive from the school what I needed so I rearranged my life so I could get the best bang for my buck.
I bought a school bus and lived in it so I could take my student loans and pale grant money and buy tools and materials. I lived in that bus for my entire college career. I had to find studio space outside of school because UNCA has enough space for a pot of clay or a brush full of paint. If you want to go big you have to do it yourself. Best education I could have ever received. I just wish I would have paid myself for it instead. However, my time at UNCA was very productive, I made some very large and complicated pieces. I taught myself that I could do tremendous things. After graduating I went forward on that principal pursuing my highest ideal which is to invoke social change. My art is experimentation with visual dialogue that reaches to the audience inviting the room necessary in the mind to see imagination at work.
This guiding ideal of imagination and social change presented a full blown opportunity for expression in the Phil Mechanic Studios, a building located in the river arts district. Jolene and Mitch Mechanic allowed myself and a few other individuals to start a bio-diesel factory in their building. This endeavor created absolute social change by giving the populous the option to buy locally produced fuel. I like to know that the creation of my hands is actually taking the power back. Flood Fine Art Center which I confounded with Jolene Mechanic has become the most challenging and avante-guard gallery in Asheville and Western NC. At Flood Gallery the possibilities are constantly emerging and while we have existed on a budget becoming of the homeless it is unbelievable the impact we have achieved. As the future unfolds and the people of western North Carolina rise to the occasion to support our mission, the subsequent growth of our capacity will bring the creative voice of our region a home. Art is the communication that lifts our imaginations to fulfillment. The more we give the more we get.
Currently my artistic endeavors have been greatly supported and developed by the relationship that I am involved in. Melissa Terrezza and I share a studio and work to build our art careers. Her help with applications, explanations and motivations, pushes me to continually find optimistic views for future possibilities.