The several things I am at once give me my view of the world and shape my art. First, I am a gay man. Second, as an artist, I view the world as an aesthetic experience. Third, I’m a lawyer by training and practice. I view the world in political, ethical, and practical terms. Fourth, I am a spiritual being. I believe that art has the potential to heal the soul sickness of our culture for those open to the possibility.
My spiritual center was a gift from my Grandmother. You see her with me the day I graduated law school. She was a woman of simple grace who taught me that we were here to be of service to others. We are meant to use our talents (or compelling interests) to perform that service whether to make a cake for a child’s birthday or write an opera that can transport untold thousands to another realm.
As a lawyer I was immersed in a culture hell bent in competition for more stuff and power. As a gay man, I knew the world was sick and sexually dysfunctional for having tied sex to power
rather than love. We were doing ugly things to each other and to our planet. At first, I hoped that I could affect the world using the power of the law. But I found myself an unhappy servant of neurotic interests of the rich. So I turned to a part of myself that had been happy as a child. I loved making art.
All my life, I’ve had a constant need to create something visual. As a kid, I redesigned the world – drawing cars – houses – cities – men. Later, when I was practicing law, I drew the cigarettes on the table before me at meetings – the addiction I used as a smoke screen to keep my distance from the world.
Ultimately, I found joy in making a record of my experience and dreams. I began doing three things at once. I began painting – making art from found paper. I began recording my life at Fire Island Pines. And I began drawing life sized nude figures. This work spanned about ten years of my life and merged my interests in aesthetics, politics, and the body. My painting was about the process of making something beautiful from scraps. My drawings described what I found compelling in the male body. My photography was intended to record the beauty of gay men in affectionate connection.
1988 brought profound life change. My lover, David Peterson died of AIDS and I realized the extent to which internalized homophobia in our sexually dysfunctional world was lethal. I committed my work to healing these conditions. My aim is to present us with our most beautiful sensual selves so that we may appreciate the divinity of our sexual energy and it’s connection to love. In short – our sexual energy can be used to heal our psyches and souls when we embrace the goodness of it. I’m fortunate to have a feed back loop. When I’m told that my work has helped someone embrace themselves – then I know my work is performing the service as intended.