School of Art and Design Alumni Exhibition 2021
Wellington B. Gray Gallery
The sand piles where I spent countless hours playing as a child, I now understand to be the farmland in Pitt County I have lived all my life. It was my medium for the subconscious delight I got from my work. It provided me the means to create and experiment. Every day brought wonders, disappointment, and thrills. The farm still brings this joy.
When I am trying to make art, I have the same feelings I experienced as a child making sandcastles and dreams. When I am carving wood or stone, I can see in my imagination some person from another time working with a similar state of mind: lost to any worry other than the task at hand. There is this subconscious need to create something new, or beautiful, or worthwhile.
To the Artists the Patron is important, but less so after one’s hair falls out and turns white. The farmer must always keep the market in mud. When I was a young man, I out a finished piece of art outside and my dog barked at it. I knew I was on the right track. My conscience was clear.
Now my grandchildren are my most important critics. We can work together for hours without speaking; lost in our work. We are in a mission of discovery. My goal is to make something they value, I want my farm produce to be something they want to eat.
Making art, like trying to farm, depends on trial and error, learning from past experiences while constantly adapting to change. If someone looks at my art for longer than the usual glance, or comes back again and again for another look, I am much pleased. If my fruit and vegetable customer come back again and again and tells me they enjoyed what they bought, that also is my reward and satisfaction. I am working toward this feeling that the time and space I occupy has meaning and worth.
Commodus, Red Mulberry, 4’ X 3’ X 2’, 2021