The earliest years of our lives may largely be forgotten but are, for many, the most important for the development of a human into an artist. This is the case with me.
I had no shortage of childhood influences. The imagination and perceptual playground of Dr. Seuss was combined with hobbies that included jigsaw puzzles, game design (board and card), ship model-making, pencil drawing and super-8 movie-making (stop action, pixilation and claymation). Early on, I had a huge attraction to pulleys, string and suspending things from the ceiling.
During art classes in high school, I discovered Frank Stella who then became my favorite contemporary artist. Stella's earliest two phases proved to be a profound perceptual force for me as I toyed with the experiences of parallel black and gray stripes and geometric forms interpiercing each other like firm geometric balloons.
I want to give much credit and appreciation to my mother and principle sound-board, Katharine C Stelle who was highly supportive and encouraging while I freely explored my varying creative interests. Thank you so much Mom. I am always loving you and missing you.
In 1978, I earned a degree in Mathematics from Windham College in Putney, Vermont after 4 years of classes emphasizing Math, Art and Theatre. These classes brought about an interest in layering, suspended forms, modularity, precision and engineering (Buckminster Fuller), perception (M.C.Esher), light and other concepts essential to the style of abstract art you see in this website. It was then that I began to realize a fascination with the concept of free-style geometry, the process of imagining forms in space that, at least hypothetically, could be described using mathematical formulae. I have a deep appreciation for the teaching during this time period of Marja Vallila, Peter Forakis and math teachers, Stan Zielinski, Robert Lewand and Pao-sheng Hsu.
Forakis exposed me to Buckminster Fuller and the combining of form and structure while seeing the value of math and engineering applied to art. In theatre, I enjoyed stage design, set construction and lighting. Throughout several years in which I worked in software development, I maintained a hobby of creating abstract geometric forms, sometimes small using cardboard, sometimes large in painted plywood.
And More Recently...
In 1992, I earned my Masters degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon. During that time, I learned about perception and art from faculty members Kenneth Helphand and Jerome Diethelm. In a class taught by the latter that related Art with Landscape Architecture, I proposed my own work to be analyzed. This piece consisted of a long (8 ft) narrow (1/8 x 1/2 in) strip of red plastic suspended vertically in a tree. To me "Vertical Red Line" fluttering and swaying in the breeze was a powerful experience of geometry interacting with nature while playing perceptual trickery of seeing pure geometry mixed with reality. I was definitely drawn to its potential and real possibility of pursuing sculpture in its most pure and abstract style.
In 1998, I moved from Oregon to New Mexico with a major commitment to abstract sculpture.