I’ve been surrounded by art my whole life. My grandfather, my father, and my aunt were all successful western artists. While I have a great amount of natural talent, I learned much from all three. Dad always had a sculpture on the go, and Grandpa Jack took the time to teach me how to draw and paint, as did Aunt Yvonne. When you’re surrounded by so much raw talent, you can’t help but be influenced. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as interested in sculpting, drawing, or painting western themes as they were.
I was more interested in drawing castles, knights in armour, and sieges. This resulted in great disappointment on the part of my familial mentors, who all hoped that I would carry the torch and continue their legacy as a western artist. Alas, it was not to be so. I followed my passion for all things medieval, and wound up as an armourer. Growing up, our house was littered with native and cowboy artifacts, not to mention the paintings and sculpture that adorned every wall and surface. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because today, my home is equally embellished, except with armour, swords, and medieval artwork, the majority of which has been created by my own hand.
My formal training came at the Alberta College of Art (now called ACAD – they’ve since added “and Design” to the end of the title). There I studied foundations, and built on my already formidable understanding of art. I then attended Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, where I studied film animation. I graduated with high honours, and had offers from three separate studios in Ottawa, Minneapolis, and in far flung Australia. I turned all of them down, because my wife was working in Calgary as a school teacher, and I wasn’t prepared to ask her to give up her career so that I could pursue mine.
I worked as a freelance commercial artist for several years, and then landed a job at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. I jumped at the chance, since it meant that I was able to work with their arms and armour collection. Thirty five years working as an armourer has left me little time to pursue art, but I still find opportunity for the odd project. When I lay down my armourer’s hammer for good, I fully intend to pick up the paintbrush and the sculptor’s trowel and pursue my passion for art once more.