My background – I have an undergraduate degree in Art and English and worked as the Art Director/Graphic Designer for a small magazine. After that, I went back to school for a Master of Arts degree in teaching. I taught high school English literature, grammar, creative writing and film for 6 years. Next, I taught art and am proud I grew the program from one semester of art to three full years. I added graphic design, drawing, painting, art history, ceramics, and sculpture.
I've been an adjunct instructor in Speech and Improvisational Storytelling at Calvin University and Applied Improvisation and Design Thinking for Kendall College of Art and Design and is currently a member of Grand Valley Artists.
After leaving The Second City (Detroit) in 1999, I founded Fishladder Inc. bringing applied improvisation into organizations to improve collaboration, communication, and innovation through a more resilient approach to leadership.
I sing, play, paint, write, read, and perform whenever I can and love hanging out with people who do the same.
I try to answer my own questions and explore the mystery behind what people don’t say or don’t do, the feelings evoked by glimpsing an object, experience, or emotion.
If an image, a comment, or event sticks with me, rather than try to represent it realistically, I write a story, play with an image, or act it out onstage. It's the moments I can't forget that plague me the most and I struggle, sometimes for years, to uncover the meaning inherent in the memory.
Photo of me with and my dad, my favorite painting partner. I love working with watercolors, acrylics, oils, mixed media, oil pastels and, well, everything. Visual art is, to me, improvisational, just like life. I'm a colorist by nature, which means I love bold colors, like to play with form, and am drawn to Abstract Expressionism and Fauvism.
My wife forces me out of my comfort zone so I experience new locations, people, food, colors, smells, and light. This photo is from the bush in Tanzania. We've explored lots of places including right outside our front door. We had most fun recently taking magnifying glasses to the bugs and flowers in the wetlands.
My mom, and her raucous approach to life, has always had an out-sized influence on me, especially my creative work. She was unafraid to take risks, try new things, and worried little about what others thought. If she liked a fabric, she'd add it to her clothing, she'd talk to anyone even those who wouldn't listen, and could sit for hours with her feet in the ocean.
We're a blend and with that comes new experiences, flavors, fun, and growth. I'm grateful for my father, my second mother Mary Ann, and my plethora of siblings...all accomplished, brilliant, and funny with grand, generous hearts. Plus, I have some pretty great cousins and extended family.
Like my writers group who keep forgetting to lock the door so I keep getting in. I'm fortunate to have neighbors I love, my Second City family, a faith family, Grand Valley Artists, and...each one a gift who teaches me, chastises me, and makes me laugh.
I've lost more money, fallen down more holes, shredded more clothing, and broken more bones than most people I know. I've lost jobs and been rejected from shows and, no matter what anyone tells you, it sucks...until it doesn't and you then realize you're still alive and can try again or walk away and try something new.