“I used to carve giant pumpkins with my dad in California. He had a long driveway set so far back from the street and covered in trees that no one saw our house. He was upset when no one showed up for our first Halloween there. When I was 10 he started carving pumpkins to attract attention. We did it for 30 years and became known as Pumpkin Lane. It grew to over 300 sculpture pumpkins every year. We would have more than 18,000 people come by over a three-day weekend. It got to the point where it couldn’t get bigger or better and I started having children, so it was time to stop. My art and carving started with that.
My great-grandfather was the inventor of barbed wire and he is in the Smithsonian Institute. Barbed wire was revolutionary in the 1800s and changed the United States. Some say in good ways, others say in bad ways. Some cowboys called it the devil’s rope because it closed down the plains and badlands to free-ranging. Because of my him, I have a love for wire. It is the only thing that does exactly what I want it to do. It is forgivable. I make small, decorative barbed wire that I include in all of my pieces. I was a lineman with Riviera Utilities and climbed poles and worked with high voltage and worked with the big wires and transformers.
My great-grandfather was a tinkerer and he would tear his farm equipment apart. Like him, I have been an experimenter and inventor all of my life. If I don’t have a tool or something I need, I will invent it. I make tabletop windmills. I guess what I do is folk art. The wind turns the parts and gears and the wires control the movement. I have training as a puppeteer and love puppets. I bring all of that into my work. There are Barbies that dance, drummers that bang on the drums, and a tap dancer. Woody from Toy Story plays his guitar, taps his toe and you hear him talk. I am testing windmill music boxes. The wind turns the gears and the music plays. People will be able to create their own songs. I love lighting. I also play with shadows and shadow light with my sculptures.
My wife and I moved back to Alabama to be around family here and for a slower pace of life. We have three biological and two adopted children. I had cancer and was forced into early retirement. I became a stay-at-home dad and the kids were my priority. They are older now and I can start looking ahead with my art. I have been making all of these pieces in my house and no one has seen them yet. I love Fairhope and want to immerse myself in the art culture but I don’t know where to start. It is hard to come up with something original you are proud of, but I am so driven by that. I think there is something here. I just have to keep trying. Art is my first love. I would like to make some kind of living with it.
The word “Love” in wire on my pieces is my mantra. Life is hard and our spirits get beat down. We need to remember to be kind and loving. I say love a lot. So much love and detail go into everything I make. I want my work to take people’s minds off their problems for a little while and to have more moments of love.”