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Artist Statement

I moved to Homer in 1972 and have been making commercial, public and fine art
ever since. Many people know me for my artistic signs, comics or my years of work as
the artist for the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Along with all this I have always been
busy on my own projects in painting, sculpting and printing but few years ago I stumbled
onto the idea of using recycled plastics in combination with low voltage led lights to
create something new and interesting. A lengthy series of tests using milk bottles,
detergent containers and plastic soda bottles among others ensued. One thing that was
immediately apparent was the beauty that these small lights produced when shining
through milky and textured white container plastic, which is how it all got started. Since
that time I have found countless uses for bubble wrap, packaging plastic, tape, bottles
and containers of all descriptions to make the creatures you see here hanging from the
ceiling.
When I first stated I was content to improvise using the available shapes commonly
found with these plastics but while looking for more realistic representations I had a big
breakthrough when I began to experiment with the process of vacuum forming. This is a
technique involving the use of cut-out sheets, heating them in an oven and pulling them
down over a pre-designed form to achieve various shapes like jelly fish domes, angler
fish and squid forms. A simple box with a hole in the top hooked to a vacuum cleaner
does the job nicely. With this I was able to expand my list of deep- sea creatures, and
the complex forms they come in, dramatically. In addition to this I learned how to make
interesting variations by actually stretching strips of plastic almost to the breaking point
to make such things as tentacles. In addition to plastic I also began to use other found
materials such as feathers, yarn and fabrics to enhance the look of what I was
creating. The last innovation was using spray paint on the inner walls and making
various colored filters to alter the basic white illumination of the small led lights. The
more I explored the more exciting the results became and the possibilities have just
kept growing.
As many know a central focus for my work has always been the sea, the people and
the boats that sail on it and the creatures who make it home. It was natural that I would
start creating some of these amazing life forms with this new direction in my work and
here you can see the results of this journey.
So after making jelly fish, angler fish, squids, chambered nautilus and other forms over
the years and sharing them with friends and family I began to imagine it might be a
good idea to hang a large collection of these in a suitable darkened gallery and display
them for the Homer public to enjoy. My hope is you will find this unusual representation
of the beautiful life forms found in our oceans as beautiful and as much fun as they are
for me in their creation. It is my pleasure to work with the Homer Council on the Arts to
make this a reality.