California in the seventies was an amazing, lovely place to grow up. Nurtured by loving family and friends, among them some exceptionally talented female artists, I was given every opportunity to thrive and grow in the eternal sunshine.

A contrarian by nature, the gritty city of Oakland called to me, home to an incredibly diverse range of people. Tucked
away in the hills amidst groves of eucalyptus trees, Mills College was my safe haven from which to venture out and
explore the territory. As I began to focus on Asian Art History, in 1991 The School for International Training’s Tibetan Studies program allowed me to spend a semester living in Kathmandu with a refugee family, with a month-long excursion across Tibet. Traveling overland in our minibus, my nose almost on the windscreen as I sat cross-legged on the center console, I surveyed the wide-open vistas, ringed by the world’s tallest mountains, and marveled at how much I felt at home. Though California was half a world away I felt the same resonance in these almost lunar desert landscapes- the elation of a place like Death Valley, where life has been distilled down to only the most tenacious and wily.

Interspersed in these vast landscapes, we would cross almost opaque, jade green glacial melt rivers. We brought small gilded bronze statues to a remote nunnery, to replace ones that had been taken away. They represented the nobility of Buddhist faith and devotion, but it was really the Bon (animistic) religion that spoke to me. The ritual ornaments and instruments, some made from human bone, are among the most specific and esoteric man-made implements on the planet. The intense imagery of wrathful deities, in thangkas and intricate metal sculptures, engaged in unspeakable acts, adorned with garlands of severed human heads and flayed animal skin capes were almost psychotropic, seen in heavy timbered, darkly incense laden chambers of monasteries still sonorous with chanting.

Upon return to the US I sought information about the lost wax method of casting. The information I had been filtering now wanted to be processed into something ‘real’. Serving this impulse, I began making a pair of fictitious animal skulls- from a mold made from Ibex antlers purchased at a Lhasa market, and the wax table at the Santa Barbara City College’s summer 1991 session, two ‘door guardians’ were produced. I graduated, and moved to San Francisco, where Taiko drumming, Butoh performances, and regular attendance at shows by the likes of the Melvins, Sharkbait and Bad Brains all continued the internal grinding process as I experienced living in the Mission District prior to the Dot Com revolution.

The process was slow and I couldn’t weld - two problems directly remedied by the decision, in 1995, to move to Trenton to work at the Johnson Atelier. Then an art factory, the foundry was a sculpture Mecca amidst the urban detritus that rims this notoriously depressed city. Upon a cursory exploration to the East Coast, the history and accretion of civilization hit me upside the head. Taking the train from Newark, through Trenton, to Philadelphia I had really never seen anything like it. Staring into a pot of melting bronze, I could sense a blood level connection to those who had come before, those who melted and poured metal to make something. I felt like an alchemist, staring at the jagged detritus of the Rust Belt, and refining the dross of its steel and iron scrap into sculpture. Thus the Zero Tolerance Area series evolved.

All along my eyes, mind, heart and time have been caught and pulled in many directions. The discipline of making art, and more recently, of meditation continues to serve the essential purpose of bringing a still point to the ever-turning world. I maintain that the absence of awareness of time passing when engaged in these processes is one of my favorite states. This is the opposite of being unconscious: it is a direct connection to the present moment. My fond hope is that some sense of this imbues my work, and that by observing it you touch the awareness and intent with which it was made.