I was born and raised in Lafayette, La. My mother is a seamstress specializing in elaborate Mardi Gras costumes and her parents were both artistically inclined as well. Gran-Gran worked in cast metal and Mimi created large scale intricate works of braided fiber. I was never particularly interested in or good at sports or much of anything else, but I was always drawing and making strange little things out of whatever material I could get my hands on. I have always been an artist of sorts but it wasn't until college that I discovered my true medium.
"I think everyone has a true nature that coincides with his or her natural talents. Half of the trick is discovering what your true nature is, the other half is remaining true to it."
I stumbled upon mine in the spring of ‘92. I was enrolled as an Advertising Design major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when I attended my first sculpture class. I loved it immediately, and sculpture soon became my unofficial minor. It was not long before I had evolved from the mallet and chisel to the use of the chainsaw. One of my instructors, Mark Guilbeaux, introduced me to welding and encouraged me to push the scale of my work. I developed a rough-edged style I call “Modern Primitive” because of the use of modern motor and engine driven tools to execute concepts inspired by the art of primitive cultures.
I might have changed my major to sculpture, but I was trying to be practical, and Advertising was a practical compromise between art and reality. After graduation I worked at a small local Ad Agency for three years. I was a good designer, but I had no real passion for the work. I considered changing jobs but every other practical option only seemed worse than what I was already doing. Discontent turned to frustration and finally maddening depression. Once I was good and crazy, it suddenly all made sense.
I was fighting my true nature. I was not a designer wishing to be a sculptor, I was a sculptor pretending to be a designer because that is what I thought the practical world expected of me. Then I simply stopped pretending.