“I have done art as long as I can remember. I started with comic strips and action heroes, Superman and Captain Marvel. That is what kids are interested in and I drew them in a realistic way. I was always interested in science, too. I was in a Biology club called the Test Tube Twirlers. How corny can you get? I had good science teachers in high school and have a Ph.D. in Biology. I want to be remembered for art and science. I discovered a new species of protozoa. It was exciting at the time, but now it is more of a conversation piece.”
“I don’t pre-draw, I am too impatient. I find a spot and start splashing the paint. I put in the eyes so I know where the nose will go. I pay attention to faces because every line in our face comes from an experience. I like to draw people whose experience shows in their face. The faces I paint are usually people I know — a woman picking muscadines on the vine at my house to make wine. When I paint, I am at peace and in the zone and tune out the world. I also like to have people watching while because I like interaction and telling people what I am doing. It must be the teacher in me.”
“I was beaten at the train station in Anniston. I sat where I thought I was entitled to sit and then I was beaten. They intended to kill me and I lost two teeth in the front. Those don’t grow back. That is logically what I should say is the hardest thing I have been through, but the more subtle discrimination over the years have been harder. It still goes on. It has come full cycle and may be as bad as it has ever been. I still have hope because people aren’t putting up as much as they did then. Back then, there was no hope. John Legend said artistic and musically inclined people are the least prejudiced. I think that is right.”
“There was a time when I loved getting outdoors and rummaging around and being run off properties for taking photographs. I got older and couldn’t run as fast so I couldn’t get away like I used to. I became cautious. I was adventurous and used to scuba dive. I wouldn’t do it now. When I was young, I swam. We had a little gymnastics team in college. I was the anchorman, not the one who would fly.”
“I knew eventually one side of my brain would give way to the other and art won. In the beginning, I had to choose between art or science for my career and I chose science. Now it is just art. I am content with that. I don’t paint every day, but I should. I think a lot about what I am going to paint and I study the old masters for techniques, not to copy, but to formulate something unique to me. I get bored with styles and have to try something new. Something drives me to do something more exciting and better than I did yesterday. I am still making progress.”
He has an exhibit at the Eastern Shore Art Center during February.