Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, I’ve always had the desire to create. I grew up with a drawing pad in hand, and had aspirations on becoming an architect until I realized math was involved. Photography and painting were my outlet. It allowed me to create, without having to solve complex quadratic equations at the same time. It allowed me to “see” things that others may not, and be able to put it on paper. Also, this way my final design would not have the possibility of collapsing on its occupants.
At an early age, my main goal was to design the next greatest sports car. It was equal parts 1975 Corvette Stingray, lawn dart, and Millennium Falcon. Since I had several years to go until I was eligible for my driver’s license, my supercar design proposal to several prominent Italian car makers would have to wait. It was then I decided to purchase a camera. While weighing my options and figuring out how many lawns I would need to mow, my parents generously provided me with a Pentax K1000. Not happy with the lens it came with, I sought out the biggest, heaviest, and most importantly, cheapest lens a kid could buy. My new Yashica (rough Japanese translation – “sharp as a tomato”) lens didn’t yield the best results, very likely due to the fact I could never quite tell if my subject was in focus. But, it was huge, built up my shoulder muscles, and made me feel significant. Soon however, I discovered image quality may be a more important consideration.
Skip ahead fifteen or so years. Anxious to get somewhere warm, wet, and sandy, I packed my bags and disappeared to the Cayman Islands. While working as a SCUBA instructor, the underwater world opened up a whole new world of fascinating images. I worked somewhat temporarily for a new boss – let’s just call him Brian (as that is actually his name) . The job was to shoot underwater video of dive clients. Brian could be demanding, and I was usually terrified to go into work, but I definitely learned a great deal in a short period of time. After his intense first day training of “Here’s a camera, walk around the lobby with it for 15 minutes…good?…OK, go shoot a video”, I felt fully prepared. After seeing my first video, I’m pretty sure Brian thought I was drowning. I may have shot one or two customers, but essentially I got some really nice footage of water and bubbles. Surprisingly, those few people I managed to capture on video came in to look at the final product, and actually bought a copy – my first sale! Skip ahead another few years, and I had the opportunity to purchase the video/photography business which heralded my mediocre rise in the industry. By this time Brian had moved on, I’m assuming to a career in Novocain-free dentistry or waterboarding. This is when Fishbowl Video & Photography was born. It then died abruptly three years later when Category 5 Hurricane Ivan decided to visit the island. After spending about a year back in Canada believing my hopes and dreams were crushed, an opportunity came up which allowed me to return to Grand Cayman, this time as a boat captain with a new business venture – Aquazure Watersports Ltd., providing luxury diving and snorkeling tours. I should mention, another early influence in my life, aside from my first camera, was the magnificent television show Miami Vice. The boats, the clothes, the style – who wouldn’t want to own a boat?! I wouldn’t go as far as to say Don Johnson ruined my life, but he definitely blinded me with his white Armani suits and Ferrari driving lifestyle. Damn you Sonny Crockett. After several years showing charter guests the beauty of the island, I had an interesting Christmas in the Caribbean. I was asked to do several small paintings for friends of a friend. After I was finished, and the gifts were received, I heard a comment repeated to me in various forms, mainly “You’re an artist?! What are you doing driving a boat?”. That was my moment of clarity. I knew it was time to get serious as an artist.
What I think I’ve always known is, it wasn’t juvenile dreams of yachts, blue water, and girls in bikinis that so heavily influenced me – it was simply the images. The desire to take everyday sights and transform them into my own form of art. I have now left the island and relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, where I create my back painted acrylic on glass panel designs.