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My family was always supportive. In grade two, one of my brothers helped me build a scale model, maybe two feet high, of the twin towers and central dome of Toronto's City Hall out of sugar cubes. My sister, three or four years later, took me to the archives of the Toronto Star to search out photographs of cattle at the C.N.E. after my own, and first, photographs had not worked out. Around that same time, my other brother sent me postcards and stories as he hitch-hiked across Canada and worked on the Lakers. My parents were supportive throughout.

My participation, in 1978, in the National Museum's Explore Your Heritage project brought such activities to a particular focus. For this I constructed a diorama that incorporated scale models, replicated artifacts, archival photographs and texts. As a result, I, along with twenty-five or so other successful participants from B.C., spent a month touring Canada's ten provinces - taking in museums and heritage sites along the way. That many of my works ("The Beach" (1985), "Sleeping Devices for York" (1988), "Romantic Commodities" (1993) and "The Sled" (1996)) resemble museum dioramas reaffirms for me that these early interests continue in my contemporary practice.

Other than teachers, a few people encouraged my interests around this time, including: Joe Cruise, Richard Hunt, Arlene Otke and John Smyly at the BC Provincial Museum; Brian Travers-Smith, a local Victoria painter; and Eike Kluge who often purchased my paintings. At this time I was equally likely to pursue a direction in art or in museums.

I chose art. While I value my experiences with many of my instructors, Fred Douglas, at the Univeristy of Victoria is the artist/instructor with whom I have the strongest affinity. What I have learned from Fred is to think in very broad terms with respect to the stories and forms that I explore in my art-making and, importantly, to draw into my art-making those things that seem of personal significance to me or that are simply curious to me.

Since I began teaching at Kamloops' University College of the Cariboo in 1989, my activities as an artist have branched out in many directions with respect to interdisciplinary research and pedagogy. "PhotoGraphic Encounters", a combined publication (book) and curatorial project that W.F. Garrett-Petts and I completed in 2000, provides a good example of such collaborative work. I hope that there is some commonality between such interdisciplinary practice as this and what I do in my own art making.

 

 

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