I grew up in Nebraska, where my appreciation for wide open spaces and solitary objects was born. Excelling primarily in running and math, compared to many others I was a late-comer into the world of art. In undergrad at the University of Nebraska, I only took one art class-- Darkroom Photography. I loved it, but when I left college after changing majors five times, I wanted to be a writer. Even so, photography began to take hold of my imagination. I crammed a darkroom underneath the stairway in my mother's basement. Thanks to the tutelage of Barbara Hagan, I became passionate about the activity and it gradually took over my life. After teaching and coaching in high school for several years, I moved to Florida with the hopes of making a living with my camera. I worked at a photo lab, where I was part of the production of the Guiness Book of World Records' largest photograph. After growing weary of poverty, I returned to teaching. It was a great job, but it burned me out and I had no energy for art. It was time for my next move. Grad school.
In 2001 I enrolled at Cranbrook Academy of Art to study under Carl Toth, a unique artist who specialized in philosophy and the transformation of what photography could be. Here I learned the practice of being an artist, and found new and original ways of expression. It was also here that I discovered the joys of color photography, both film and digital, as well as the joys of staging my own images. I also worked at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops for three summers which developed a broad technical skill.
Once I graduated, I found intriguing opportunities in the Detroit area so I decided to stay. I have developed the Cranbrook Summer Art Institute, which offers art classes to teenagers from all over the world. I am also an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technological University and Oakland Community College. Part of the allure of Detroit is the affordability and available space. Thus, I have also started a non-profit art group called Hatch: A Hamtramck Art Collective. We purchased a former police station/ jail/ nunnery and have converted it into an art center.
I currently live in Hamtramck, an immigrant community within the loving arms of Detroit. There isn't a more diverse city in the US. I purchased a former crackhouse from the government and live in a neighborhood where Arabic and Polish are spoken as often as English. Still, it is a real community, where people walk to the market, chat on their porches, and watch out for one another. It is like living in a small town again but with the benefits of a big city.