I make art to satisfy a need to create and stay challenged. I gravitate toward environments, landscapes and the things in them, whether they be human, human generated, plant , animal, or mineral. Sometimes I investigate close to home, but often i explore further afield. Explorations might take me around the block, the local wildlife refuge, out on the prairie, the mountains, or across the country. Longer planned trips usually focus on a particular type of pictorial project, but chance figures in as well. Often road trips are taken just to see what photographic opportunities might arise.
My current work is the product of a series of short planned road trips. I set out to photograph a series of historic advertising signs and symbols. Along the lines of the New Topographics exhibit mounted at the George Eastman House in the 1970s. I shoot the signs and symbols in straightforward, documentary style and display them in grids on repurposed metal sheets. Though I am inspired by all the artists featured in the New Topographics exhibit, I pull most from Bernd and Hilla Becher and Stephen Shore, the Bechers for their use of grids, and straight on approach, and Shore for his subject matter and use of color. Shore also took a whimsical approach to postcard and snapshot aesthetics, something I choose to explore as well.
First I photographed the historic, hand painted, bright yellow and black signs entreating travelers, on all the roads leading into the town, to stop in and shop at the F.M. Light and Sons Western Wear store in downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The next group of historic signs were those along I90 eastbound through South Dakota, that lure travelers off the Interstate and into the town of Wall to visit Wall Drug, once a little drug store offering free ice water to weary travelers, and now a busy block long tourist attraction. In Sioux Falls AD I stopped to document one of the giant fiberglass figures that are featured in the third unit of this project. The figures were originally molded and manufactured in the 1960s to hold various objects, Paul Bunyan's ax for example, and stood outside a variety of businesses, thus the name.Today the still stand outside a variety of places, holding a host of objects. The Muffler Men I photographed for my work stand in Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. All of the signs and symbols photographs are postcard size and mounted on weathered metal to enhance the historic, nostalgic feel.
I have created art in one form or another for as long as I can remember, trying my hand at painting and drawing, as well as sculpture. Now I am returning to the serious pursuit of photography.