Was art always an option growing up? What was your education like, and how has your attitude towards art shifted over time? 

I started at a very young age through the encouragement of my grandmother. She was very artistic, not only in the arts as far as the visual arts, but she also went to college, which was unusual for people in her era. After getting a degree in music, she always encouraged me to have a creative outlet. She wanted me to play the piano because my fingers were long, but I chose fine arts instead. From there, I always knew that I wanted to participate in the arts in some capacity. 

I went to the army and was an illustrator for three years. After getting out of the army, I used the GI bill to go to college and I got my fine arts degree from the University of Minnesota. From there, I went into corporate America and I used that as a springboard into using my art from a graphic art’s standpoint. I worked there and in other various jobs in the graphic arts realm. 

Who would you say your biggest influences have been?

Initially in college, I was a big fan of Charles Sheeler and I love Giacometti. The expressiveness of both Giacometti’s and Charles Sheeler’s illustrative industrial-looking paintings were early inspirations.I liked the juxtaposition of an architectural feel, and I have implemented this style into my work. 

What has your main modality for seeking out new opportunities been? What characteristics about you do you think have helped you land work with the San Diego DA, or in graphics, or be in the army?

Well, what it really comes down to is just work ethic. It was instilled in me at a young age. I wanted to try new things. Never in a million years would I ever tell you that I would join the army, but it sounded like a cool opportunity, and it was the greatest experience of my life really. 

I was 18. I had this beautiful job, a paycheck, the best equipment, while being the only girl in the unit - so I had a million big brothers. It afforded me the opportunity to go to college on the GI bill with no out-of-pocket expense. I’ve always found a way, and spinning that into corporate America, it allowed me to balance my graphic arts and fine arts. I always found a way to make that work, like a square peg round hole in every job I ever had, but I kind of liked that. 

So would you say that art school helped you then land in the art market, and start cultivating your collector base? Or would you also attribute that to your work ethic? 

Art school helped me get into a gallery in Minneapolis right away. It was a privilege, but I was too naïve to understand what a privilege it was. I ended up being in that gallery for a few years and sold some pieces to some significant people that were collectors. My work ethic was important to success in my corporate years, as I ended up becoming the creative director at Deluxe Corporations. It was fun; it was a fun path, but now I’m ready to just do my art.

By Roxanne Grooms 


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