My artistic passion is driven by the question “what if?” Every material offers challenges. Sometimes the creative journey is a very personal, meandering affair; other times I am designing for a particular audience as part of a community process.

My art, which I sometimes refer to as “heart work,” is a response to my life journey, a reflection and processing of life changing experiences: the suicide of a relative, the clear cutting of ancient growth forest, the concept of sustainability and a vision of what our world will look like in fifty years.

My life has been a journey down a path of design and creation. When I was 8, I started painting in acrylics and oil and painted murals on the walls of our house and in the entrance to my dad’s architectural office. I learned to use hand tools to work with wood, and was inspired by my dad’s modern design sense. I apprenticed and learned to work in many mediums, including blacksmithing, and later, in high school, I trained with the enamalist and painter Karl Drerup.

While at Dartmouth College, where I had been pursuing a studio path, leaning toward architecture, I became involved with and was deeply affected by the political and community aspect of Bread and Puppet’s work. It was through various demonstrations in New York and Washington, DC, in the 80s that I discovered that art could be a tool for activism. In 1982, I began teaching art at a high school and realized the great potential of facilitating creativity.

Later, while living in San Francisco, I continued to create studio art, taught K-8, and also ventured into community art as a core member of Wise Fool Puppet Intervention, and was very involved in using art to send a message. Perhaps the seminal piece during that time that combined my studio work with my environmental activism was “Found Stump,” a 20-foot tall installation made entirely of recycled wood that was commissioned by the arts commission that highlighted the destruction of California’s ancient redwoods and the throwing away of this resource. In addition to these projects I became involved with community agriculture (CSAs) and community gardening.

In 2002, I moved with my wife and 2 boys to Cobb Hill, a cohousing community in Hartland, Vermont. While a big part of this move was about exploring sustainability in a more intentional way, I continued to make art and to teach. The instructing part of my career has increasingly moved outside of the classroom as is reflected in the residencies and workshops I have led at the University of Chicago and Vassar College as part of the “Big Art” project; the 2006 performance residency at Visao Futuro, Purangaba, Brazil; and multiple residencies with the Dana Meadows Fellows in Hartland. This work is as much about empowering people of all ages to create as it is about seeking transformation through art.

I work with Sustainability Leaders Network, bringing the Art of Sustainability to leaders in the social and environment change movement. We see creative problem solving as essential for addressing the many challenges we face in bringing about a sustainable future for people and planet. Art and creative expression stimulate the right side of the brain, and seek meaning, expansive possibilities, and the big picture. We have found that those who engage in creative processing often experience a profound sense of new possibilities and are more effective in their work place. Sustainability is an art. And art helps us break through old ways of thinking to get to sustainable solutions.

I am listed on the Vermont Art Council’s Arts Directory, which means that schools in Vermont can apply for streamlined grants to bring me in for a workshop or residency. Learn more about the teaching I do and the grants offered. I am also a 2013 Fellow in the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s year-long Fellowship for Leaders in Arts and Culture.