Born and raised in San Diego, California, I spent my childhood intimately involved with the natural world, from the redwood forests of Santa Cruz to the beaches of San Diego and the Anza-Borrego Desert.Â My other interests were the classic triumvirate of little boysâ€™ hobbies:Â trains, dinosaurs, and the implements of war.Â In high school, I drew constantly.
The subject matter was consistent:Â fantasy monsters, heroic warriors, sexy women, and the technologies of war.Â I spent the latter half of my teenage years as a peripheral observer of the mid-1990s Gothic subculture, attracted in particular to the striking appearance of its women, who took their cues from Neil Gaimanâ€™s comic book series Sandman, Christina Ricciâ€™s character Wednesday in the film The Addams Family, and Winona Ryderâ€™s character Lydia from Beetlejuice.
I started college with an illustratorâ€™s mindset, hoping to paint fantasy novel or role-playing game sourcebook covers, or to draw comic books, but as my education progressed I began to appreciate the critical and conceptual aspects of painting as a fine art.Â After several years of community college, I transferred to Humboldt State University, in the redwood forests of northern California.Â I was drawn there by the natural beauty of the region, and by the liberal, artistic atmosphere of the university town. I dabbled in a variety of media, including photography and sculpture, before finding my voice in painting.Â I received my degree, a BA with a double major History and Studio Art, magna cum laude, in December of 2002.
In 2005, I was offered admission into the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art.Â My first year was extremely challenging, but by the end of it I had found my bearings.Â Working closely with Hoffberger Director Grace Hartigan and Critic-In-Residence Dominique Nahas, I took advantage of the large studio space to create a series of massive murals on canvas, the largest of them a single piece of canvas 59 feet long.Â The large scale and narrative structure of these works continues in my studio practice to this day.
I was married in 2006, and after graduating from MICA in 2007, I moved with my wife Stephanie Burke to Chicago, where she earned her photography MFA from SAIC.Â I currently live and work in Chicago, and maintain ties in California and Baltimore.Â In addition to my studio practice I teach at LillStreet Art Center, Hyde Park Art Center, and Wilbur Wright Community College, and write reviews for ArtPulse, Art Talk Chicago, and Chicago Art Magazine.