My first real mentor was my Art teacher in college prep school. He taught me a great deal - not the least of which is to always be working on the entire composition, not just a part of it. He'd say he should be able to walk up behind me, pull the pencil from my hand at any moment, and have the work be a complete composition just as it was.
My undergrad years at University of California, Davis were certainly interesting and formative. It was there I developed my minimalist line drawing style, but I could have grown as an artist so much more. Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, William Wiley and Roland Petersen, among others, were artists in residence while I was there. For the most part, I stayed away from their classes. They demanded a great deal of work, I thought, and I would just rather "create".
I have since come to realize that the greatness of one of the artists I admire most, Salvador Dali, came from his being a master technician first - allowing him the judgment to break the rules and chart new territory.
It was at UC Davis that I met another cherished mentor, theatrical set designer Gene Chesley. He taught me quite a bit about set design, but mainly he encouraged - he made me feel as if I'd taught him a thing or two - and, maybe I did.
Pablo Picasso once said, "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
I've certainly found this to be true.
Discouraged that I couldn't make a living doing art - owing mostly to the wrong notion that I shouldn't have to work at it - I taught myself computer programming and have made money doing that.
In recent years, encouraged again by good friends who saw some of my earlier work, I began doing line drawings again, working at them this time, and refining them into what you see today.
"You're like Picasso, only better", one friend said … encouragement is where it's at.