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
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.