I use the term artist to categorize myself because it seems closest to describing how I have felt and thought, how and what I have perceived, and the apparently irrational ways I have interacted with the world since I was a small child.
I identify as a sculptor because the images that come to me in my studio when I'm designing or just anytime, awake or dreaming, and whether non-objective or abstractly representational, are always 3-dimensional.
When I was a child in Corpus Christi, Texas, my artwork was recognized and praised by my teachers and my school.
As a rebellious teenager, I somehow came up with the notion that art is something that can't be taught or learned. I felt that skills like drawing, painting, welding, and carving could be acquired and I saw great benefit in the study of art history. However, making art seemed somewhat mystical, coming from an artist's personal vision. It was a vague idea, but I used it to justify my juvenile refusal to take art classes.
In those years I was a hopeless romantic, in love with the Impressionist paintings I saw in books. I was also taken with the exceptional collection at the Fort Worth Museum. I realize now that those Abstract Expressionist pieces came to define serious art for me for many years.
Even as a child I was interested in architecture and it continues to greatly influence my work.
Playing on the rocks by Corpus Christi Bay, exploring the creeks in North Texas, living and traveling in New Mexico and the magical Sonoran Desert - all have contributed to my artistic vision.
When I was in my twenties, in the 1970's, my girlfriend asked me to take a stained glass class with her. I enjoyed it. Very quickly I was designing my own pieces and learning how to use a craft to express my creativity. After opening a studio in New Mexico, I began to use sandblasted glass in my work. After a few years and many experiences, I started to focus on sculpture and functional art pieces like tables, desks, and light fixtures. In the 1990's, to supplement my income I created special wall finishes for interior designers, which was in itself an invaluable education in the use of color.
Now, in my seventies, my focus is solely on my sculpture. Looking back, I can see that my art education has come about from much traveling, museums and galleries, and artists I've known
So many things have influenced my vision, but it's only in the actual making of art that I learn how better to express that vision. Each piece is an experiment and an exploration.
In The Studio
Studio Assistants Frank & Frankie adding glass to a new piece
Michael Sutton with Malai Kitchen Co-Founder Braden Wages