Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an artist who resides in Portland, Oregon. For several years, my focus has been painting. A few years ago, my son needed a little chair to sit in, so I made him one from one of my used skateboards. Shortly after that, I began Board Games to help support my “at home daddy” lifestyle. I’ve always worked creatively for or with children, so toy-making seemed like a natural progression. Because I love skateboarding and have trouble throwing things away, making toys from recycled skateboards made sense. I even use old grip tape as sandpaper.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I draw and paint, write songs and play drums in a rock band (as well as a “kindie” rock band). I skate whenever I can, but I mostly play with my 3-year-old son. Wait, all that stuff is pretty creative. I’m not sure what else I do.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Keep It Simple. I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be because I secretly enjoy the challenge. However, no matter how complicated a task seems, it can always be broken down into simpler parts. I’m constantly reminding myself of that. It’s my internal loop.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I wish I knew; I would go there and swim in it. As it is, I collect drops of inspiration from just about anywhere. You know how dew settles on everything? I’m out there with a sponge.
What does handmade mean to you?
In college, I had a job drawing artifacts for archaeologists. Oftentimes I would see a person’s fingerprint in some 2000-year-old piece of pottery. It would blow me away every time, and I would put my finger in the same place as theirs had been. To me, handmade describes the connection you feel when observing something crafted by another human. Whether it’s a physical object or simply an experience, you recognize their unique mark. I don’t get that connection with mass-produced things.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My son, Rocket.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I remember drawing a big picture of the Mayflower with tiny stick Pilgrims when I was in kindergarten. It was the first time I remember being proud of something I made. I wish I could still draw like that.
How would you describe your creative process?
When you work with recycled materials, you do a lot of tinkering. It’s very frustrating but also a lot of fun.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Alexander Calder. That’s a man who never stopped playing.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I think some ideas need to ferment longer than others. If something is not working out, I’ll put it in a dark place for a while. Usually when I come back to it, I know right away if it’s worth pursuing.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
In a canoe on a lazy river.