I was sent some interview questions by 202 Magazine, which is a family magazine for the lower East Valley (suburbs of Phoenix which include Chandler where I live, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert). The general gist was aimed at being a father who happened to be a photo artist, but I did get to talk some art (and diss Man of Steel). Here’s an excerpt:
Q: Does your work and vision come together with your family life at all, either through daily schedule and/or in the way you approach and see things? (I know, for example, that being a professional writer and even amateur photographer makes me really focus in on details of my family life in a why I might not otherwise.)
A: The kids are in kindergarten and 1st grade, so I have that time to do the business type stuff that can’t have any distraction to it. When I teach at Tumbleweed Recreation Center, they are able to go to the 2 hour daycare, and if I teach kids classes at other facilities I’m able to bring them if I need to. With local shoots, I can schedule shoots around my wife’s time off, or have my sister watch them. For my art photography shoots, I do most of them when I go to LA or Seattle or NYC, shoot months of material in a travel weekend, then spend a while shopping it around, or refining old material. The right brained creative stuff- post processing work in Photoshop/ Lightroom, mixed media work- that I can do anytime, it’s such an automatic process that I can do it with the kids, watching cartoons or with the laptop at an indoor playground or late at night when they’ve gone to bed.
It helps my style to live so much of my life in the kids’ headspaces, for example, a shoot that involved specific colors reminded me of my son’s various Lego brands like Ninjago or Hero Factory, characters that were color coordinated and had elemental powers. So that shoot became about how each color reflected an element. I’ve worked in elements of Muppets, Mary Poppins, ALF, mecha and manga, etc. and many of these things are from my own childhood, but the approach can still be child-like. It’s hard to explain but there is a tone that I prefer, a positive and bright tone that I think I keep because I’m always with my kids. The opposite of that is stuff like the Man of Steel film, which was a cynical and brutal approach to a pop culture property.