Why Art Mechanic? I'm equally comfortable making a painting as I am rebuilding a car's motor. While writing this a Pontiac 400 sits torn
down in my garage and three paintings sit in various stages of completion in addition to finalizing the novel I've just published. (Available here
Watts & McLaren: Scar Tissue)
I love to figure out how things work. This website's construction is a perfect example. After downloading a template I figured out what I didn't need and what I
wanted to have that didn't exist then learned some HTML and Java in order to make the changes. I have a real knack for problem solving and backward engineering a thing.
I'm good at discerning cause and effect in complex systems like game engines. It makes me good at troubleshooting and bridging the gap between artists and programmers
on a development team. I'm bi-lingual in that regard and a good translator.
"Who am I?" Until I'm doing something like this I don't give it much thought. The one constant at my core, is that I'm an Artist, but as with
most it's more complicated than a single label. I love creating art and see it in a beautifully crafted car or well made cabinet, book, film, music, or game as much as I do in paintings.
My parents embody the dichotomy of my two seemingly opposing halves. My father, a retired business owner and Master Electrician was a singer and
song writer. My mother, a long time pest control technician, denies being creative in any way, but as a cake decorator made gorgeous cakes with intricate sculptural flowers
and would have made a hell of an interior designer. I was born and raised in the Midwest, coming from generations of high caliber hard working craftsmen, tradesmen and artists of all types
on both sides of the tree. So no surprise, early on I displayed a talent for the visually creative side of things while being very adept at not only taking things apart,
but correctly reassembling them afterward. Those middle class roots and a hardy gene pool are the wellspring of my die-hard work ethic, the source of my mechanical side,
technical proficiency, ability to see the big picture and most of all my love of art.
This 'Jack of all trades and master of some' is the result of those talents and creativity being nurtured by my family, friends, co-workers and
many great teachers over the years. I graduated with Honors from Art Center College of Design and haven't lived in St. Louis since, but do get back there every chance I get.
I'm proud of where I come from. The invaluable instruction in art theory, hand skills and critical thinking acquired in school laid on top of the solid foundations of my up
bringing has allowed me to wear many hats in the game industry and beyond. My job titles have covered a wide range of disciplines: 'Senior Technical Artist',
'Environment Lead', 'Cinematics technician', 'Conceptual Artist', 'Modeler', 'Texture Artist' and 'Illustrator' to name more than a few. Now I'm tackling writing as well.
So why Art Mechanic? I like the way it sounds and it describes me rather well.
Why the renewed focus on writing?
As a good friend pointed out to me once, I've always been a story teller. Early on I would draw my own comics and construct adventures for
the role playing games my friends and I played. Every piece of personal art I've ever created has some sort of story component to it, even if I didn't write it down.
As time went by those stories started occupying more space in my head. I needed to put them down on paper. I penned short stories here and there and even a hand
written novel. I wrote them down, because I found they wouldn't leave me alone until I did. I had a natural creative cycle of doing some writing, then doing artwork,
the majority of which was based on that writing, then I'd clear my head with a little audio mixing, which was never more than a hobby. After that I'd be ready to repeat
Cycle interupted. I went off to art school and even though stories would still come to mind, I was in school to push the art side of my creativity,
so that had to take precedence. I learned a lot, but my natural creative cycle was pretty much destroyed during that time. After school was over, work in video games
ate all my time, generally between sixty-five to eighty hours a week, because I'm all in on anything I do.
Those stories were still there however, and begging to be heard. My first self published novel was written because my head would no longer give me any
peace if I ignored them. Those stories were going to be heard. If not put on paper, they would repeat over and over in my head, which drove me a little nuts until I figured it out.
At first, little snippets started spilling out of me into my sketchbooks. Soon my sketchbooks had no drawings in them anymore, just rough bits of what would become
"Watts & McLaren: Scar Tissue." It's as if my brain was saying, "Art got the better part of a decade, it's story time now."
Now here I am.
I was originally trained in traditional art mediums, but have fully embraced the digital and branched out into scripting.
ART SKILLS: Traditional drawing, visualization and story telling skills
TRADITIONAL MEDIA: Acrylics, Oils, Gouache, Pen & Ink, Pastels, Graphite and Charcoal.
SOFTWARE: Maya, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Manga Studio, Painter, Sketch Book, Flash MX, Excel and yWriter
SCRIPT LANGUAGES: Python in Maya mainly, Some Mel, HTML, Java