MY FIRST DRAWING OF NOTE was a cartoon copied from the Sunday comics. I must have been 4 or 5. My father thought it was a good tracing, and I remember being angry, telling him I didn’t trace it and then proving that my drawing was freehanded because it was bigger than the original.

I took my first art class at the local visual art center in Sioux Falls when I was 6 and was moved into an adult painting class when I was 8. By junior high, I was receiving private lessons in drawing and art history from professors at Augustana College every other week for a couple of hours at my home or at their studios.

I try to understand what haunts me and to give it form. That hasn’t changed for over 40 years during periods of performance and theater work, writing or drawing. Inspiration for me is the result of all the accidents and disasters that have accumulated on the drawing—there’s nothing left to lose, and you draw upon the freedom to do anything. The underlying core of my work is the conformist who prefers order, habits of behavior, accumulating data and enclosed places but admits to feeling vulnerable behind locked doors.

In front of a blank piece of paper, I feel a combination of anticipation and dread. I start with my own set of skills and approach, but as the drawing progresses, more artists come in and add their marks. A bit of Cezanne, a touch of Matisse, Beckman, my friends … By the final stroke, I have a party, and the drawing is finished.

“In front of a blank piece of paper, I feel a combination of anticipation and dread. I start with my own set of skills and approach, but as the drawing progresses, more artists come in and add their marks.”


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