Q: What interests you?
Our attention and reaction to the challenges facing us and doing work that reflects the times in which we are living. I’m thinking about 100-200 years from now – in which this work could be experienced in technically unthinkable ways. I’m interested in harnessing digital innovation and smart contract technology to make frictionless and measurable impacts in the physical world.
I see the twenty-first century as a crucial turning point – and next big awakening for humanity – in which we transform from a society molded by ego to one fueled by altruism, as a consequence of the extraordinary ecological and societal challenges we’ve created. There is nothing more we need to know, and we may be the last generation who can fix it. The first half of twenty-first century will see the peaks of our blind self-importance while the second half will expose a shift in which we recognize and prioritize the other and greater whole.
Q: Much of your work brings the wilderness into focus. What about this inspires you?
The wilderness represents an original, essential state of something, in this case nature. The connection of the wilderness to our health and the health of all species interests me. Uncultivated, untouched land is as delicate as it is beautiful and bursting with vitality.
I’ve spent the last 30 years living next to the 2nd largest wilderness area in the continental US and have come to know that wild lands are vulnerable, essential to all life, and require our care. Recognizing the importance of wilderness areas is integral to the central theme I explore in my practice, ‘care of self / care of other’.
Q: What does ‘Care of Self | Care of Other’ refer to?
COS | COO is about the relationship between self-care and caring for the other – whether ‘the other” is person, thing, place, idea, or anything outside the self. How does this relationship shape our experience and that of the greater whole?
Wilderness | Biodiversity, Oppression | Rejection, Comfort | Discomfort, Sickness | Extinction are all topics I address in my practice and represent areas of great personal interest and ongoing exploration.
Q: Why is a discomfort practice important to you?
I put myself through the paces within a daily practice to manage the ones life presents. As we construct sturdier homes to withstand more frequent and extreme storms, we need stronger bodies, minds and spirit to navigate the world today. This practice has given me a way to approach and enjoy arduous things which seems miraculous.
Q: Tell me a bit about growing up in Pittsburgh and the influence it had on your work.
I grew up in industrial Pittsburgh of the 70’s and 80’s, and still recall the smell of pollution on summer mornings. My father spent his career at US Steel. We drove American cars. It was city proud of its blue collar and melting-pot constituents and still is. Growing up and experiencing life through the lens of industry, while being introduced to the idea of exotic places, catalyzed an internal need to go out and explore and experience natural, untouched places.
By my mid-20’s, I was drawn to the west and to open, vast, remote places.
Q: What steered you in this direction?
An enthusiasm for exploration. My twin and I spent our childhood exploring on bikes; to find and see new things equaled continuous excitement. Since high school, I’ve continued to venture into the unknown, spending time in environments as different or far away from mine as I can find.
Q: It seems that this city eventually inspired the move West to Idaho and its protected environment.
Yes, in ’92 I borrowed $500 from my parents and drove to Idaho, where I have been for the past 30 years surrounded by the one of the largest areas of protected land in the US. I wanted to live in a place where the natural environment dictated the way of life, where one could sense its physical geography. Our 4 distinct seasons, five surrounding mountain ranges, hillside ordinances, and Dark Sky Preserve make it possible to notice the changing of the seasons nearly daily.
Q: Photography is a medium based on the preservation of a single moment. Are you attempting to document a changing landscape by freezing it in time?
Yes, especially given how rapidly we are altering the earth’s surface. Surface Surveys is a record of the planet’s natural expression, unhindered yet dominated by man. The surveys highlight the contrasts between protected and unprotected lands in our current, anthropocentric age.
Q: Why is color important to you?
I love to spend time observing, and at times, color’s subtlety strikes me as if I’m glimpsing something hidden and fleeting. Color is ever-changing, never the same moment to moment. From the age of 5, I grew up with frequent migraines that would debilitate me for whole days. I managed the pain through color visualization.
Q: How has the pandemic influenced your work?
In the moment I realized that my day-to-day was coming to a stop, I knew I would intensely focus on my practice. As challenging and difficult as the pandemic was, it has afforded me the time and freedom to explore new ideas, new media, and new technology.
Q: Looking ahead, what excites you the most?
Expanding the world’s wilderness acres, protecting our planet’s biodiversity, and the natural diversity of humanity while embracing technology and the future to create innovative and thought-provoking artworks that address these themes.
Using smart contracts, I’m converting all LWS digital works into “Perpetual Purpose NFTs”, reserving half of the NFT sale income for the NFT holder and half to auto-purchase wilderness lands. The PPNFT captures every NFT sale and re-sale in perpetuity, creating a singular and ongoing link between artwork, purpose, and collector. The NFT’s governing smart contract protects and secures perpetual, equal benefit for the individual and the whole.
Q: Artists who have inspired you?
Ursula von Rydingsvard, Cy Twombly, Richard Long, Hilma af Klint, Leonardo da Vinci, James Turrell