I graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 1978. The first job opportunity that came along after I completed school was to do illustrations for a Christian book publication. I rejected that offer so I could draw storyboards for the high-paying big ad agencies around town. I guess I found drawing ads for beer and hamburgers more interesting than drawing pictures of Jesus. Besides, what's the big deal about Jesus anyway? Hasn't Mr. Darwin enlightened us to his theories that we all evolved from something that crawled out of the primordial ooze and we are all her because of some random accident? Surely the thought that some infinite God created man and woman from which we are all their offspring is infinitely ridiculous! Anyway, the advertising agency work got me involved with an animation studio, and I began to design and illustrate backgrounds for animated spots. For several years I did all the backgrounds for Cap'n Crunch™ and many for Fruit Loops™ and other breakfast cereals. That work led me to take on jobs for package illustration. That helped me develop my photo-realism skills.
From labels of dog food to jelly jars to Nintendo™ and Gameboy™ video games and advertisements, I went to The Bradford Exchange™ to create images for their collector plates as well as Enesco Corp.™ (Precious Moments™) to help them with product development. Both of these companies had licensing agreements with Disney™, so this gave me the opportunity to work with Disney™ on developing figurines, music boxes, and Christmas ornaments. That work led me to Somerset House Publishing who was working with Disney™ on a project to produce 5 images of their classic films (Snow White™, Peter Pan™, Cinderella™, Pinocchio™, & Alice in Wonderland™). Getting this job introduced me to the Limited Edition Print Industry. So over the years, millions of eyes have seen my work, but it wasn't until now that I could put my name on it.
After I finished the Disney assignment the publisher asked me if I would be interested in doing a series of paintings of Bible stories. It reminded me of a job I refused about 20 years before this. And today people will ask me if I only do Religious paintings. Hmmm... let's first define that word. The necessary research into the themes of my subjects has edified me rather thoroughly about what Christianity is basically all about. And I used to be highly offended when someone would try to preach this Jesus on me. What about the Religion of Kabbala that is all the rage now in Hollywood? What about the Religion of Buddah, Krishna, Muhammad, Tao, the Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses? Or what about those New Age Gurus we have seen on the Oprah Winfrey show have told us? Are they not just as valid for our spiritual life? Since these can all be classified as Religions ~ are the paintings I create now in this same world order?
This assignment that began for me in 1998 has given me a clear vision of that my ignorance and arrogance had made me so blind to before. Except for Christianity, when you study all the other world religions in depth it could not be any more obvious that they are all man's invention. Virtually every religious construct outside of what the Holy Bible teaches is man's futile effort to earn, merit, or work his way to the eternal home of some kind. Only Christianity says we can never be good enough. St. Augustine said: "Could the finite mind of man ever have devised a plan such as this? That the lamb of God who knew no sin become sin for us, so that we may be righteous before God." Only this loving personal God has an objective plan for us. It is clear and certain. We owe our salvation wholly to the finished work of Jesus Christ. Only He can bridge the chasm between our unrighteousness and the perfect Holiness of our Creator. But what really opened my eyes was when the Holy Spirit enlightened me to the fact that Christianity is not blind faith. It is based on Historical facts, eyewitnessed testimonies, fulfilled prophesies, confirmation of miracles that only the Judeo-Christian prophets and Apostles can lay claim to, scientific knowledge long before its time, archaeological discoveries, and most importantly there is more manuscript evidence and dated closer to the events reported than any other ancient historical literature~by far! It simply cannot be denied! No matter what Penn & Teller, or Peter Jennings, or the DaVinci Code, or any of the other popular skeptics of Christian Faith like to mislead so many people to believe, that fact remains their refutations against the Holy Bible have never been substantiated and yet this life-changing, mind-bogglingly brilliant book that God wrote can literally ~ spiritually ~ and yes, physically bury those who stand against it with two rock solid words ~ Grace & Truth!
So I believe the word Religious is simply to broad a term to describe the paintings I only do now. My work is definitively Christian. And I am a Christian who belongs to a community of believers in communion with an awesome personal God who has tented among us and offers us forgiveness of sins with His precious gifts. This is art that transcends human rendering into the realm of the Divine. Work that is the shadow of the wings that fly over me. For His Glory and His sake. Symbolism and imagery that collaborates with the Holy Scriptures, in color and light, in Grace, and in Christ!