Smelly (with my H.S. art teacher Mrs. T)
EducationB.A. Studio Art & Art History (Honors, 1997, 1999), Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MNArt Education (K-12) Certificate Program & Fieldwork (1998-1999), Bethel College (now University), St. Paul, MNCity Arts (1995) HECUA off-campus semester learning from artists & arts organizations, Minneapolis, MNInternship: Art Teacher/ Artist-in-Residence, Cedar Riverside Community School, 1995-1997, Minneapolis, MNCertificate in Irish Studies, 1996, University College Cork, Ireland Letterpress course, New College, 2000, San Francisco, CAAdvanced letterpress/printing/design courses, Independent Publishing Resource Center 2001-2008, Portland, OR
Grandmas Dorothy & AudreyMy Minnesota grandma Dorothy (mom's side) and my Florida grandma Audrey (dad's side) always were dabbling in arts or crafts. Grandma Audrey was a member of her local arts center and she liked to paint and take art workshops. Grandma Dorothy was a sewer extraordinaire. She sewed her own clothes and clothes for her grandchildren but her creativity really came out in doll making. She was a prolific sock monkey maker (for whom she sewed little pants, vests and hats). My grandmas' craftiness and artistic interests very much became pursuits I also enjoyed and loved to do when visiting them.
Ms. Kowski[junior high English teacher, Central Middle School, Eden Prairie, MN] My 7th and 8th grade English teacher Ms. Kowski gave me confidence in my writing. I was already an advanced reader but she helped me develop my creative writing. She also was a stickler for correcting our bad grammar early on. She drilled in us every day: a lot is two words and not one. She was the first teacher I met who went by Ms. and she really was more of a high school teacher in her style and demeanor. She treated us like young adults, not awkward middle school kids. Later I asked her why she didn't teach high school and she said she wanted to catch us earlier and ignite our developing brains. She always wrote long comments on the back of my assignments and Brava! when she really liked what I had done. I was a shy kid, and her class engaged me and forced me to get out in front of my classmates to read out loud what I wrote or perform in skits.
Joey Terriquez[high school art teacher, Eden Prairie High School, Eden Prairie, MN]Mrs. T fueled my art making during my late teens. She helped me enter art competitions, and signed me up for a design class; however, instead of attending class she let me spend the hour in her office playing with Photoshop making graphics for my U2 fanzine Smelly. As a senior I was allowed to create a "senior square" on her wall before graduation, and somehow I finagled three squares! Her graduation gift to her art students was a box of crayons which I've kept all these years as a memento.
Phil Thompson[college art professor, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN]My college art department was old-school: the studio classes were taught by greying men whose hey day was the 1960s and early 1970s before I was born. For example, in one printmaking class we used old rolled linoleum flooring which we heated up on hot plates so it was soft enough to carve! Out of the old studio art professor gang, Professor Phil Thompson stood out and was a gifted teacher (and a fantastic artist). Some of the other art professors probably thought I was hot-headed or too ambitious and often tried to hold me back from my big ideas, but Phil always believed in me but NEVER enabled me. For my senior solo art show, I wanted frameless glass instead of traditional frames for my photographs and prints. Phil cut out all the glass for me for the show and taught me tricks on how to hang a show correctly. A few months later I needed to hang an exhibit of photographs in the art department gallery by my photography students (from the neighboring community school, where I was a visiting artist and earning an independent study credit). The day arrived to hang the show and I of course asked my Prof. Phil to help me again. When I arrived, all the supplies were there in the gallery waiting for me, but no Phil. If I recall correctly, he left a note saying something came up. I had to carry on and get the show hung on my own. I was mad at first but by the end I'd done a pretty good job myself and I believe to this day Phil purposely did that because as a teacher he had done his job, and he knew I was ready to fly on my own. Phil and I stayed in touch after I graduated and he was one of the first people to buy a print from me when I had my first art show.
Ivan Snyder[hobby letterpress printer, Portland, OR]While learning the tricks of the trade of letterpress printing and starting Red Bat Press, I was a regular printer on the community presses at the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, Oregon. At the center I became acquainted with the volunteer bookkeeper, Ivan Snyder, who was balancing the books the same days as open print hours. Ivan called himself a hobby printer and he had a full letterpress print shop in his detached garage next to his home. I signed up to help bookkeep not knowing that he was actually passing on the volunteer job! Ivan was a long-time member of the AAPA, American Amateur Press Association, and he was a good recruiter and I attended the national convention that he helped organize in Portland in 2007. My world opened up to all these 'old time printers' and access to info about the A-Z of the trade. Ivan and I became a duo sharing Old Time Printing propaganda at every chance we could. He joined me with a printers' hat (made out of one sheet of a newspaper) to host printing demos here and there including one at an elementary school program about Ben Franklin for his 300th Birthday. Ivan and I have printed a few 'scandal sheets' together and road-tripped to San Jose for the Bay Area Printers' Fair while chasing down the mystery of the mill block—an old cut we found in his garage that looked to have a cool story and history. Turns out, it did! Ivan always was taking in and adopting letterpress printing tools and equipment to keep them out of the trash so there was plenty of treasure to be found in Ivan's garage! Always helpful, knowledgeable and funny, Ivan became a mentor for me and even let me borrow 'picture cuts' from his huge collection or print on his big treadle press from time to time.
Barney Smith[folk artist and museum ringleader at the Barney Smith Toilet Seat Art Museum, San Antonio, TX]Barney Smith's passion is contagious and he and I spent about three years together when I signed up to be his helper at a museum he had created single-handedly and was running out of his garage in a suburban area of the San Antonio metro. I met Barney Smith, age 93, when I was passing through Texas on my honeymoon trip. My husband Jason and I were so amazed by him and loved his sweet and sassy humor and just how determined and dedicated he was to his museum project, over 1400 toilet seat works of art when he passed away at the age of 98. As his helper I learned all sorts of tricks of his self taught artist trade. Yes he did melt down plastic communion cups from his church for the resin and there wasn't anything you couldn't fix with E-6000 glue! Barney taught me appreciation of not worrying what others think of you and just make art, how you want, and he was good at marketing. Any call center worker would be trying to sell him something on his phone but instead they were learning all about his Toilet Seat Art Museum! I am pleased to have known such a unique and kindred spirit and also happy that his art was saved and his museum lives on at the Truck Yard, a roadside attraction themed Texas beer garden located a few miles outside of Dallas, Texas in the uniquely named town, The Colony.