I was born in 1942 in my maternal grandparents house in Springfield, Ohio. I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be an artist. As a child I drew and painted all the time and was encouraged by my teachers and parents, especially my mother. My favorite game as a child was a universal one: making a “house” out of almost anything—boxes, blankets, branches—and crawling inside. Especially inspiring was a snapshot of my mother as a child standing at the door of an igloo made by my uncle after an Ohio snowstorm. My mother had wanderlust and my family took month-long, vaguely planned road trips every summer. To me, these were better than Christmas. Frequently, we spent the night in slightly run-down tourist cabins—the only accommodations available after the more modern motels had lit up the NO on the neon VACANCY sign. I hated the cabins, preferring the motels with their swimming pools, but they left me with vivid memories of both intimacy and alienation. One trip to Boston when I was six or seven included a visit to the Old North Church of Paul Revere fame. At the time, the church appeared rundown and forgotten. I was shocked and remember feeling the same sort of sadness for the building that I would feel for a person in a similar situation.
In college, I majored in art and planned a career as a painter. After college, I spent a year in Paris, painting and then moved to New York. There, I began a series of paintings of solitary cars traveling in sort of moonscape setting. In the last car painting I did, the car faces the viewer and appears ready to drive off the canvas. I had begun to realize I wanted my work to have an element of engagement and power I did not know how to achieve in paintings.