i. I work as an artist and photographer.
ii. I do this creative work because: I need to. I was always creative but in 2011 I had an overwhelming need to create work that moved me (and hopefully the viewer), and was socially relevant.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are: Work ethic. The benefits of working hard were instilled in me at a young age. As an artist that meant working at my craft… whether it was learning new cameras (film and digital), getting creative with presentation (plexiglass panels or light boxes), and knowing enough about Photoshop to make my pictures appear the way they do in my head.
Lithium #6 | Division (2019)
Ivanpah #7 | Heliostats (2019)
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are: Lately that’s been time. I have another full time job that demands 45-60 hours a week, so balancing that with the amount of creative time required to produce the amount of work I do, and maintaining a happy and healthy family life (which is by far the most important) is a huge challenge.
v. Creative childhood hobbies: My brother and I loved comics growing up so we would write and illustrate our own comics. Back then they seemed pretty awesome but I don’t know if Captain Hulahoop and Feety (her powers were the smell of her feet) would translate in the Marvel Universe.
vi. Other creators who inspire you: As a photographer I am a huge fan of Andreas Gursky, Nadav Kander, Edward Burtynsky, and Vick Muniz. They represent the large scale projects that I aspire to. My original inspiration though came from watching David Burdeny and Michael Levin who I knew from my Winnipeg days.
Crashing Wave | Katzie Mountain (2018)
Chalice Arete (2019)
vii. Training that has helped me in this career: I learned how to use a camera in my other job. I’ve been a member of the Vancouver Police since 1998 and have worked in plainclothes since 2002. I started with a film camera and learned very quickly that patience, composition, and timing were critical. There were lots of blurry and underexposed photographs of people breaking into houses or dropping off bags of drugs for cash that ended up being deleted and of no help to the case.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career: Ego. Your own self worth is so important, especially in this day and age of social media. If you dictate success by how many likes you are getting then you’re doing it wrong. I got caught in that trap, and it’s a tough balancing act. As much as compliments are great and insults and criticism suck, it’s rarely real. Focus on the look in peoples eyes when they see your work or read your words… that’s genuine.
ix. Some proud career moments: Philanthropy is a driving force behind my work. In 2012, I had a small show at a coffee shop in White Rock. We gave all the profits to a couple we knew who had two children, both with cancer. One of the kids didn’t make it, but knowing that in some very small way I was able to give her a little joy in the time she had left meant a lot to me. This year, my work raised over $26,000 for various charities and organizations that I care about… if that isn’t something to be proud of I don’t know what is.
Mallory and Carnegie | DaySleeper (2015)
Procession Under Watchful Eye (2016)
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you: Do it for the right reasons. You don’t get into art or photography because there’s a guarantee of steady work, a pension, or medical benefits. A burning desire to create something will always translate into your finished product. Giving a shit is tangible and your viewers will feel it.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future: I want to give back as much as I take.
xii. If you want to see my work, go to: Locally you can find my work at the Art Rental and Sales office of the Vancouver Art Gallery or my website. In Victoria I am represented by Winchester Galleries. My newest series “Lithium and The New Energy” will likely debut at Art San Francisco with my awesome gallerists in Seattle who run Hall Spassov.
Header: Three Barns (2013)