What’s your background?
I spent 21 years as a pilot in the Air Force and Air National Guard flying B-1Bs, trainers and KC-135 refuelers. I have spent another ten in the airline industry.
Does your artwork come from that background?
Some of it as I truly enjoy aviation but my taste in art is very eclectic and the art I produce reflects that with a fair amount of military and aviation images but it is a relatively small percentage of what I do.
What are you trying to say with your work?
I have a little art that tries to make a statement but in general I am more interested in simply sharing the beauty I see around me with the world than actually trying to say anything life changing.
What made you choose the medium you work with?
The simple answer here is I have good artistic vision but no ability to draw or paint and being a bit hyperactive I would rather be out and about chasing the perfect image than spending time learning to draw or paint. I also get bored pretty quickly and move from one subject to the next and photography allows me to do that as opposed to spending long periods of time on a single image.
Do you work in a studio?
I prefer to work outside creating images of scene as I see them in my mind but I do shoot things that interest me in what I call my studio when the weather is not cooperative for shooting outside. Generally speaking my studio is nothing more than my man cave with additional lighting set up to highlight the subject I am trying to create art around.
What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?
Who are your biggest influences?
Peter Tellone and Debra Vanderlaan influenced me a lot in the style of photography I wanted to learn how to create and do well. Both had images that just wowed me when I was just starting out and had no idea what I was doing yet.
NEVER mess with a man in Texas who is wearing cowboy boots and a Stetson and a Hawaiian shirt. He probably has a full size 45 concealed under that shirt and anyone old enough to have completely given up on caring what people think about how he is dressed is probably too old to fight and will handle threats differently.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
Always a tough question and the answer is usually the one I just created as it is freshest in my mind. It would also depend on my mood but I would say a good group of my favorites are any of the images on the first page on my site. I would have to say A Deeply Southern Sunrise of The Flight Home would be my two absolute favorites though.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
This varies wildly depending on the subject or place and may or may not include travel time to get to a spot. The longest amount of time from concept to finished image was three years for one image. The most time I have ever spent editing an image was around 60 hours. I have spent months gathering material for some still lifes and then I have seen a scene that just presented itself, pulled over and shot it, spent five minutes in edit for a total of ten minutes total to finish the piece. Both extremes are fairly rare and a few hours is probably the norm.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
After an initial edit I do a micro edit where I make sure it is printable large from top to bottom. Is it easy to walk away? NEXT! Yes, I am ready to move on as soon as I am done.
What project are you working on now?
I just finished a bunch of still lifes and have nothing specific in mind to follow. I tend to shoot and create in spurts so now I am uploading images that have been finished for a while but need to get up and out so they can be seen and sell.
I do open mike stand up on the side which I suppose could have gone under hobbies and use humor to defuse situations and as a teaching tool.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
NEVER undervalue yourself.
What was the first piece of art you sold?
The very first piece I sold was a dragonfly image for 5 bucks maybe. The first image I sold online was an image of the Iwo Jima Memorial in DC and the first large sale I had was an image of downtown Alexandria VA.
Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?
It is tough to get rolling and there is a lot of trail and error when starting out. It may take a while to figure out a formula that works for you and it never happens for many people but the key is to keep on trying and looking for a way to achieve your goals. I still treat my art as a full time job so yeah, it is a lot of work and I put more than 40 hours a week into it most of the time.
What are you personally doing to advance your work career?
I have found the only thing that is actually profitable for me on a workable scale is continually producing new work for underserved markets online. I have tried many live venues over the years and they have been a break even proposition at best in terms of profit and giant time sinks where the time could be better spent producing new work for online buyers. It is different for everyone though and some people thrive on the live market vs online.
How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?
Going back to the advice question I price on the higher end of average for photographers. I started out pricing what my mentor priced at because that was the level I wanted to be on. Now I actually have higher prices than those I emulated early on. My theory is the market is only so big for any one image and that price is not as big a factor as most people think it is. Online wall ready art is expensive regardless of what the artist charges so I figure it is my work they are buying I want to make at least as much as the printer and shipper. I would rather sell a few less at high prices than a few more at a lower price point. The thing is you CANNOT compete with WalMart pricing so don’t try. Offer something unique and different that people will pay a premium for.
Rattlesnakes really just want to be left alone. You are far more likely to get bit trying to kill it or mess with it than just walking away.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I post all my images on Pinterest and I do tend to play on FaceBook but don’t use the latter as much as a marketing tool.
Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?
For the most part there really isn’t. I am not overly fond of some of the snippyness in Co-Op galleries but that is the nature of the beast.
What advice would you give new artists?
Don’t quit your day job while you chase your dream. I was laid off a few times when the economy went south and had no choice so tried to make this art thing my full time income. While I make enough to eke out a living just selling art it is a much better side income than a primary one.
Have you got hobbies?
I suppose photographing snakes is just a hobby as they certainly do not sell. Aside from that, lifting weights, martial arts and shooting, (guns.) I also enjoy kayaking and hiking but merge that with the photography business.
Where are you based?
The Dallas Texas area.
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I live in Manchester, UK and try to promote other artists and writers when I can.I'm so pleased you found our community and I hope to chat to you soon!!Please comment on my posts if you like them 🙂
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