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 far into the future in which my artworks will be experienced in technically unimaginable ways today. Harnessing leading materials to present new artforms, LWS’s works in progress enable innovative stores of value and utility directly in response to the challenges confronting our civilization today.
We are at crucial turning point human history in which we transform from a society molded by ego to one fueled by altruism resulting from the extraordinary ecological and societal challenges we’ve created.
Q: Much of your work brings the wilderness into focus. What about this inspires you?
The wilderness represents an original, essential state of something. Uncultivated, untouched land is as delicate as it is beautiful and bursting with vitality. I’m interested in the connection of the wilderness to our health and the health of all life on earth.
I’ve come to know that wild lands are vulnerable, essential to all life, and require our care.
All aspects of my work is influenced by a love for my surrounding landscape: by 30+ years of living next to, recreating year-round within, and raising a family in one of the largest wilderness areas and few Dark Sky Preserves in the country.
My connection to wild land is deeply ingrained, cultivated over time through sustained exploration, appreciation, and respect for all that it is.
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 daily a discomfort practice to build courage and willpower. This practice also increases my self-awareness.
As we build more resilient homes to endure increasingly severe storms, so too must we fortify our bodies, minds, and spirit to face the escalating humanitarian and societal challenges heading our way.
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 a 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 childhoods 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 on a daily basis.
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.
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.
Q: Artists who have inspired you?
Ursula von Rydingsvard, Cy Twombly, Richard Long, Hilma af Klint, Leonardo da Vinci, James Turrell