Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army Saigon Advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Division 1969-1970
From the Artist:
These paintings are part of a body of artwork that I created after I returned from my tour of duty in Vietnam, 1969-1970. Filled with fears and confusion, yet unable to verbalize the turmoil I felt inside, the paintings were created in an attempt to interpret for myself what had happened to me. "2nd Lieutenant" is an expression of the many depths of turbulence that I felt as a result of the Vietnam experience. My thoughts, my mind, my life were literally exploding with so many conflicting emotions and feelings. This painting attempts to express the anguish at what happened to me, both inside and out. The horrors of death, victims everywhere, and the futility of life not valued, it all seemed to be so meaningless. I was at the center of the maelstrom.
The self portrait, "2nd Lieutenant Returned Home," shows the radical changes that I underwent soon afer I came stateside. I went completely hippie upon my return and release from the service. I wanted nothing to do with the war, the army, the government. I simply could not get far enough away from the pain. I had to escape and sought it in alcohol, drugs and blending into the desert as a furtive spook. The depths of despair I felt were nearly unbearable. "Green Mansions" attempted to show the feelings and tensions and chaos in a firefight deep, triple canopy jungle- green, green, and green. With just a little grey sky and orange tracers telegraphing death in this dense claustrophobic setting, it was an intensely heavy and ripe experience.
"The Spirits of Vietnam" portrays my feelings of the spirits of Vietnam: the living, the dead, the ghosts, and hopefully renewal against a backdrop of color and shape. The uncertainty of this strange and foreign place was really just a blur in my mind. A cacohony of rich, fertile life and color played out against a backdrop of another culture. Perhaps some creative and living thing could arise from this stew of frenetic intensity. Through painting, sculpture and jewelry design, I have found my life's work in creative expression. I currently live in Santa Fe, New Mexico and continue to make art and make a living from art. The memories of Vietnam are in my mind almost every day. It is my legacy and a life-altering experience that I'll never shake out of my psyche. I boxed and hid my feelings and avoided my emotions for too long. Perhaps by now, by sharing these paintings publicly, a little more light will be allowed to shine in. (2005)