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Cassibry Column (60x12) $7200


I grew up in the small Mississippi Delta town of Cleveland. My father had a passion for farming, but he was called on by his father to go into banking. Daddy took to his path with respect and total commitment. My mother was equally dedicated to her duties as a house wife. She had an imaginative spirit that illuminated her energies; Mama was creative, outgoing and loads of fun. She could cook, entertain, decorate, sew, paint, hammer, garden, or figure out how to do what needed doing with style. Mama was up for any challenge; She woke up every day expecting to give her all, and in an earnestly good humored way, she did just that. Between the 2 of them, I could not have had better examples, but the “way” was not always clearly marked for me.

I spent the summer before my senior year of high school doing construction work, and I loved it! We got paid good, worked hard, and at the end of each day there was tangible evidence of the company’s efforts. The process of building became a completely romantic, as well as, a noble concept to me. Then, I was drawn from the mass of an overall building project to the interiors where the subtle interactions between people and structure became intimate. But lacking a background in the build trades, I enrolled in a cabinetmaking course at Delgado Junior College in New Orleans, and eventually found my way into an antique shop. There I experienced working on fine pieces of furniture that informed me of their qualities—the interaction of form, function, and material were amazing and a privilege to work on and bring back to life; it was on antique furniture that I began to carve. Afterwards, I opened my own cabinet shop and began my brief designer/craftsman period until the untimely death of the man who owned the building and equipment I was using. In the aftermath of this tragedy, I asked my father for a job at the bank, where I would work 30 of the next 35 years.

For several of those years, I tried to continue my woodworking. As time passed, I was able to explore new interest that developed from the direct influences of 2 particular artists, a painter and a potter. I became compelled to shift my energies into creating art. I had 4 pieces marketed nationally; I created the chancel appointments for a major Memphis church. Then, over the span of several years, I produced the sculptures that would form my one-man-show in October, 1992, at Delta State University, in Cleveland, Mississippi. From 1994-96, my sculptures became a regular fixture at the new Cole Pratt Gallery, which opened on Magazine St. in New Orleans. But eventually, the pressures of trying to develop 2 careers simultaneously was overcome by the realization of commitment to family and firm.

In time, I had a burning desire to complete my education. So in 2005, I enrolled at Delta State University as a nontraditional student and studied English part time until my graduation in May, 2013. The bank was more than willing for me to continue my education on my own time, and by then, what family I had was out on their own. I found that my college experience fed into my need to be active creatively. Studying the great works of literature and their authors brought me into direct, formal contact with the greater sphere of the art world and the active processes of creative thinking. In my courses I began to write, and with the help of my professors, I turned out quality work. In 2012, I represented DSU at the Southern Literary Festival, in Nashville, Tennessee.

I retired from the bank in 2017; I married and moved to Basalt, Colorado, where I now stand on the threshold of a reawakened dream—my career as a sculptor. I wake up every day with vision, passion, and game. I want to make a personal impact with my art; I want to have my work seen and enjoyed. I believe that I have something to contribute artistically. My excitement to sculpt is informed by the words of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden:

Time is but a stream I go a fishin in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom, and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper, fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars.

I am enthralled by those words, “I would drink deeper, fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars.” Time has slid away but not in vain. Now is the time in my life when I can let my mind, body, and soul drink deeper! Knowing what I know, and having found my way into a community of dedicated, talented artist at this time in my life makes the prospects for good fishing, exploring my art, better than ever.

Artistic Statement

The image of myself as an artist and my personal views concerning my art have always been a work in progress. Here are 2 statements I made in college essays concerning my artistic philosophy:

  1. “Artistic communication is facilitated through the senses. We see a beautiful painting; we hear a lovely melody, but it is through the emotions that artistic communication is achieved. It is through the emotions that art permeates to our souls. So, there is no doubt that when poet Emily Dickinson asked writer and critic Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “. . . if my Verse is alive?”  she was asking is my work any good─do you feel my poetry.”

  2. “Art is an expression of feeling, an attempt to communicate or portray love, beauty, outrage, faith, joy, horror, humor, everyday events, moral values; the list crosses the human emotional spectrum ad infinitum.”

I see my adventures as an artist woven into the lyrical fabric of Willie Nelson’s “Time of the Preacher,” as he sings, “An’ just when you think it’s all over/ it’s only begun.” I am a romantic guy ready to let you see my soul. Now, on the verge of another venture into the art world, the finial thought of author Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics describes perfectly the lump in my throat, “Here, on the edge of what [I] know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and beauty of the world. And it’s breathtaking.” The journey’s the thing!