Most of my earliest memories are of the water. Whether I was standing on the bank of a small stream tucked in the woods of central Massachusetts or on the rocky shores of Southern Maine, water has always been a place of serenity for me. These were the places that the rest of the world would fade out and I would find myself completely embraced by the calm of mother nature.
I have been fishing for as long as I can remember. My dad and I would trudge through the forest with our stuffed packs and our dog, spencer, running beside searching for level land to set up camp. I would try and wake up before my father but I would always open my eyes to see an empty sleeping bag. With the dew soaking through sneakers I made my way to the river bank. My dad would be knee deep in the water surrounded by fog and a nimbus of smoke swirled around his head from a pipe tucked in the corner of his mouth. He roll casted a big elk hair caddis 30 feet in front of him lowering the rod to his side allowing a curve to gently fall onto the water. It seemed like his body was connected to the water, twisting as he followed the miniscule fly down the current. One hand holding the slack loop of orange fly line, the other gripping the old cork of his fenwick rod. With his index finger he hooked onto the line feeling for the hit. He never seemed surprised or shocked when he would set the hook, unlike me who would scream out loud as soon as my bobber would sink below the water pulling my rod behind my head so quickly that often the plastic ball would shoot past my head. Though my father never seemed to skip a beat, just one line of physical poetry after another flowing like an old sonnet. I remember those days wondering when I would be able to tame a fly like my father and his friends. It would come shortly and I would soon be the one my father would be looking for when he awoke.
My mother would be the one to show me the poetry of the pencil and brush. We would sit with our legs crossed on the floor copying pictures of wild life out of book and magazines when we couldn’t be outside. I remember realizing that you can create a moment of serenity anywhere with a sharp pencil and a blank page I could lose myself. When I was with my dad I would be climbing the trees, with
my mother they would become drawings In my sketchbook. They both showed me the beauty of our natural world, to realize that there is always the ability to escape the chaos of life.
As my world became more chaotic with school and friends I found myself having to choose between those two escapes. I was not surrounded by fisherman anymore, instead artists, punks, and writers filled my head. I went to art school to become a painter, I had aspirations of traveling the world with a backpack and an easel until my paintings kept growing larger and more abstract until I became a full fledged sculptor filling rooms with mixed medium installations that discussed the inner meanings of being a contemplative individual in our contemporary world. Then I became sick last winter my lungs so full and tight that I was like a fish laid on a rock trying to breathe. I found myself in the hospital on Christmas day and almost a year later still dealing with the need find a strong breath. I was forced to rest and with all the meds I found my thoughts to wander away from such deep and dark subject matter of my art works, I instead found the need to find that serenity of the talking streams of my youth. I picked up a brush and travel set of watercolors I got as a gift on that Christmas day and painted my first fly. There was not a ground breaking epiphany that day but instead a length of time that the world faded behind me and I was a kid again watching my dad smoke swirling around his head as he waited following that caddis down the river. I feel that my current works are the culmination of all my experiences. They contain the chaos, the serenity, and action of my story so far. When I am not well enough to find a stream I can find a brush and I can cast a dripping line of ink onto the paper and recall that feeling of catching my first trout or the long battles of big striper off the Jetty.