My Story Timeline

A man with glasses is looking at something

Because the process or procedures behind my art are so unusual, I thought there might be interest for some visitors in how I got 'started' in art, how my art evolved, and what art has come to mean to me now. This area of my site will treat these things in a loose 'timeline' format, at times linking to other areas for details on the techniques or more information about the topics.


Childhood up to Junior High School - There was little in my early years that would predict a later passion for art. I did have an unusual interest in systems, codes, and puzzles - not crossword puzzles, but I was just fascinated with the idea that you could designate a symbol to mean something else.

High School -
By this time, I was playing around with pencil and paper, drawing lines. Not in so much an 'artistic' way, however. For example, I noticed in a right triangle how the two legs had a funny thing going on: if I shortened one leg and not the other, the two angles would change, and the length of what I later learned was the hypotenuse would change.
I knew I thrived, and it was only the art classes that I wanted to take for most of my time at SJCC.

1970 to 1976: San Francisco Art Institute - I left SJCC after taking all the art courses twice and was told to "get out of here." They suggested I go to the San Francisco Art Institute, which I entered in 1970.
My time at the Art Institute was a time of surprising change and growth. I went into the school with many of my adolescent, untested ideas about art intact. The strategy there was not what you might think they do at an art school. They didn't teach you how to paint or draw. The San Francisco Art Institute is what they call a studio school - you learn by doing. They had several core lecture courses that were required, with everything else studio work.

1977–1984: Disillusionment and my "Spiritual Desert" Period - It only took about 3 years for me to realize fully what most art majors learn upon graduation, which is that I didn't know at all how to support myself as an artist in the real world. This was an important turning point in my artistic life. I came to the bitter conclusion that I had wasted my time with art and that it was high time for me to get on with 'real life,' which required, at the very least, getting a job that could pay the rent. My interest in art started a rapid descent, taking a back seat to the task at hand: finding the right livelihood.

1985: Coming Out of the Desert - With the support of my wife, who had realized that I needed to get back to my art to get past this 'dysfunction,' I decided to make a serious recommitment to my art. The change this recommitment made in my life was remarkable - to the very day I made the recommitment, my work life changed for the better.

In 1987, I took a job working for a small group (5 people, counting myself) of structural engineers based in the Bay Area. The founder of the company was a native of Iran who had immigrated to the United States 20 years earlier. The owner was a fanatical follower of EST, a motivational therapy to help people perform at a higher level. He demanded a 10-hour day out of everybody, at straight time, and would often bring in work that had to be done the next day. Another trick he would pull was to bring in work on a Thursday or Friday to be done by Monday – work all weekend – all at straight time. I was regularly working a 10 to 12-hour day, averaging a 52-hour work week over 18 months. This experience in itself taught me one useful thing that would help me in the art that I had so enthusiastically recently re-embraced: I learned from him that if I didn't take control of my priorities, someone else would. So, with the little time I had left in my days, I was very methodical about going out to my studio and painting every chance I had. Every night, I would go out and do something, even if I was only out there for half an hour.

1988–1995 Gestation of my current system One thing else that set the stage for me to come into my own unique system of art needs to be mentioned. Around the same time I was working under my tough employer, I had moved from San Francisco, where artists abound, to Vallejo, where I felt very 'cut off' from all artistic influences. This was good. The combination of working under the demands of my fanatical employer, my own insistence to paint at all costs, and now living in 'exile' with no artists for miles around Vallejo resulted in conditions ideal for developing my own system, arising from the seeds planted years ago when I first went into drafting as a means of livelihood.

- 'Deployment' of My New System Working out my system took me a long time, and during this time, almost all the art I did was not what I'd call 'art I'd want to show anyone.' But by 1994, I had my system 'down' to the point where my art was now something I felt could stand as something that truly represented my own unique approach and which, therefore, could be 'shown to the world.' The work shown on my website starts with this date (see Early Work in the Galleries).

1998 - Collaboration Idea First Comes to Me: It was during this period that the idea of collaboration using my system first occurred to me. This proved to be a very significant event in my art life, as it led to many exciting discoveries and is still something I am pursuing to this day. Go to the Collaborative Art topic. Because of the significance of this idea, it has its own section on my site - click here to investigate it fully.

2001 - Collaborative Work on Newspaper; Guerrilla Art My drafting work (specifically, taking a class in a new computer program called GIS, Geographic Information System) cut into my ability to pursue this collaborative art topic as I would have wanted shortly after, as explained in its own section, we had a whole art class experiment with the idea.

2001 - Invitation to show at 2003 Florence Biannual Getting an invitation to show my work at the Biannual International Exposition of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy, is something I can't leave off this timeline, as you can well understand. It takes place from Dec 6th through the 14th, and I will write about it on this site once I have returned. The biannual selection committee nominated me. I didn't make an application. They saw this website and e-mailed me, inviting me. I'm thrilled to have been considered by the Florence Biannual selection committee for this show.

2002 - Started using newspapers in my own (non-collaborative) art. A major influence from Trevor Burrowes (see Newspaper Art in Galleries). Also started using acrylic instead of oils and a shortened 4-step version of my system. Consequently, I'm able to finish a piece in as little as 1 week, instead of 6 to 8 weeks on oil paintings.