biography: beyond art school

This section tracks my growth over the years since my studies in art school, illustrating some of the struggles and highlights I have had over the years as an artist.
FLORIDA 1987–1988
Center portion of the "Flamingo Lounge" mural, 1987 Oil, 22' x 6'

In 1987, I drummed up some business at the local Chef's Garden Restaurant, where I painted a 6' x 22' mural for their "Flamingo Lounge", along with an outdoor restaurant sign for the front of their building. The mural was an imaginative scene of flamingos and was a creative challenge for me, but I enjoyed it. Another creative gig was painting a series of dumpsters for the local trash company, with my former girlfriend Marcee Gutman. I also found occasional work drawing pastel portraits. This worked for a while but I finally tired of the constant struggle and panic about where the next buck was coming from.

Florida 1987–1988 gallery →

CHICAGO, 1989
Me at the Chicago Art Fair with George Sotos looking on...

In 1989, "Gutman" and I left Florida for Chicago. Her uncle offered us a real cool (cheap) flat in a (pre-1871 fire) building near downtown where we set up our studio/ living space. I loved to go up on the rooftop to paint downtown Chicago. I also did some handyman work in-between, while continuing to paint. Not much survived this period as I tossed or scraped down most of what I did. I did manage to sell some of my work in several local art shows and drew portraits in the street downtown. I loved Chicago and yet "scratching for dollars" was my constant companion.

LAS VEGAS, 1990
Marcee and I doing caricatures

In 1990, Gutman and I were on the move again. We left Chicago for an opportunity to draw caricatures for Fasen Arts at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas. This job pulled me out of the muck of odd jobs and struggle and allowed me to draw everyday for steady income. Thank you Fasen Arts!

Getting over the trauma of drawing in front of people was a real blessing built into the job. I learned to chit-chat with the public (my customers) to make them feel more comfortable while sitting in front of the people passing by.

Ultimately, Vegas was not for us long term, and Gutman and I moved to La Veta, Colorado in November, 1991. With La Veta as our "home base" we traveled far and wide with our recently formed business "Cosmic Caricatures", working six months out of the year drawing on the fair circuit. We participated in the Oklahoma and Colorado State Fairs, along with a bunch of county fairs as far east as Chicago and west into Wyoming and Utah.

LA VETA, COLORADO, 1990's
"Milk Barn at Sunset" Oil, 12" x 10"

La Veta Colorado was a painter's paradise for me. It was a small town in a picturesque rural landscape with dirt roads, ranches, horses, trees, and lots of open space. There, I continued to work on my painting and drawing on my off-months, painting the landscape of La Veta, along with the development of the still-life in my studio. I also began to make trips to Mexico to fill my sketch pads and to practice my Spanish.

the 90's gallery →

Two La Veta Art Shows
In July 1998, I had a nearly sold out one-man show at the local bakery. In that December of 2000, I had another very successful one-man show at the Parkside Gallery in La Veta, with a nice local following. Anjillee Schwarz, a La Veta stained glass artist, was a powerful force in my life. She lent me huge support and encouragement at this time by selling many of my paintings through her gift shop. Thank you Anjillee!

la veta, colorado gallery →

BAJA, MEXICO
Three Old Mexican Workman, oil, "20" x 12"

I spent well over a year (total trips) in Mexico during the period of '94-'99. I loved the Mexican people and Mexican landscape. They were a nice contrast to "Gringolandia". There was a depth of richness in the visual world that inspired me profoundly. I loved that life on the street was so vibrant. There always seemed to be people everywhere, walking, talking, gathering. It was a joy to paint and draw there.

baja, mexico gallery →

BUILDING MY CARICATURE BOOTH, 2001
Above left: Working with steel and fire—welding the framework of my caricature booth
Above right: The finished caricature booth setup—ready for business

Although I sold many paintings into the new millennium, I still needed the income from my caricature work. Gutman had quit in 1997, which meant that I had to set up and operate solo. In order to make the set-up process easier for me, I designed and built a trailer/booth that I could pull to the shows and put in place ready to go. This was a huge undertaking, but in made things so much easier for me at the fairs in the long run.

caricature booth photos →

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, 2002
"Kathryn's Studio #2" Oil, "10 x 8"

During 2002, I spent 2 months with my sister Kathryn in Brooklyn, New York. (The above painting is a still life I painted of her sculpture studio). I also painted several street scenes while there, cruising the waterfront around Greenpoint and Williamsburg with my supplies, easel, and canvases in a laundry cart. It was winter and at times quite cold. Even bundled up, I still had to jump rope to move some blood and stay warm. I loved painting the bridges and buildings and the city of New York.

cityscapes gallery →

COSTA RICA, 2003
"Costa Rican Beached Boats" Oil, "8 x6"

In 2003, I made a painting trip to the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, to draw and paint its landscape and beaches and a few street scenes in San José. The sun was brilliant and the color lavish

costa rica gallery →

BOULDER, COLORADO 2004 – 2008
Out the Front Door, 18" x 14" Oil, 2005

By 2004, I left the paradise of La Veta for a larger community. (I dearly miss her beautiful wind whipped valleys and thick forests.) I moved to Boulder, a very beautiful small city tucked up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I have painted many serene scenes in the surrounding area. The painting above is one I painted outside my front door after a snowfall.

serene colorado gallery→

The Walnut Building under Construction

Downtown Boulder is changing very fast. Old structures are "scraped" as new much larger ones are constructed in their place. This painting simultaneously portrays several stages of construction: laying the basement floor and elevator shaft while men carry on their work.

construction scenes gallery →
NEW YORK, 2010 – present
Sid's Merit, oil on wood, 24" x 16", 2011

After nearly thirty years of living all over the U.S. from Florida to California, I came back to my hometown and family in New York. This has been a time of renewal and reflection and the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I currently have studio on the North Fork of Long Island.

north shore boat and harbors
north fork serene scenes
north fork water scenes