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How did you become a designer?
I was always drawing and designing as a child and it was clear form early on that I had a passion for design. After leaving architecture school, I attended the first two days of a one semester welding class at a community college, then dropped out and taught myself the rest (I’ve never liked school). A few weeks later I started selling my furniture (for very little money) at the Fremont Saturday Market in Seattle (1999). I have been building furniture ever since.
Where are you from originally?
Central New Jersey, behind the strip malls of Route One. New Jersey has a few great areas, but overall it is a place that is aesthetically painful for me to be in. Although, it was this lack of culture and poor design that really fired me up to create in an effort to make our daily environment more pleasant.
Who were your main influences growing up?
My sister Elizabeth really shaped my creative side. Her influence saved me years of learning on my own. I learned about music, art, moral and political issues, and how to take life’s frustrations and form them into something creative and positive. She currently teaches landscape architecture at the University of Idaho (Moscow).
Did you go to art school/college or are you self-taught?
I studied architecture at Pratt Institute for 1.5 years and at the Boston Architectural Center for one year. I am a self taught furniture maker.
Any advice or tips to novice designers?
Don’t listen too hard to all the “experts” at art shows who think they know everything there is to know about creating and marketing art. If they knew so much, they probably wouldn’t be sitting at an art fair.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging project you have worked on?
A custom installation on the Olympic Peninsula, which included a ten foot long room divider that was part sculpture and part functional shelving. The piece led to many other pieces throughout the house including a headboard, light tower and many custom tables.
What is your favorite portfolio piece? Why?
It’s always the most recent. My new bamboo and steel tables are clean, elegant and more affordable than some of my earlier pieces. My designs are becoming more architectural and less whimsical and busy.
What American art or artist inspires you most?
Frank Gehry, Richard Serra and Andrew Goldsworthy. I draw a lot of inspiration from modern architecture.