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I was born in Atlanta. The year, 1960. Within that year dwells my earliest memory - a vision of woman. I’m looking up at her, my arms flailing and hands reaching. Glimmeringly she leans forth. Shiny necklace. Jeweled, horn-rimmed glasses. Redred lipstick. I was a newborn creature of artistic powers set upon wanderlust. She, the first thing I remember seeing/feeling/wanting.
By age three “she” became manifest in my drawings and colouring. My understanding of her, this scintillating surface of womanhood, deepened. My eyes to seek tearing beauty.
I was the young boy standing on the Southeastern Fair midway staring wide-eyed at hoochiecoochie dancers or tunneling my way into the bride and her maidens at family weddings (barricading myself inside white satin, lace and tulle). Or the little kid saddled up to the television screen enthralled with chiffon draped mavourneens on Lawrence Welk, enamoured of widow’s weeds wore by Morticia Addams and Lily Munster, enchanted by the spectral flicker of Old Hollywood (Harlow, Dietrich, Davis) then, eventually, (ladies & gentleman) Cher and the miraculous Mr. Mackie.
Primary school was predicated upon artistic achievements. A personal correspondence with Bob Mackie and Yves Saint Laurent when I was sixteen led me to Fashion and a Pratt Institute scholarship in New York City.
On my first day of college the venerable professor, Madeleine Darling, told the class “In Fashion one cannot be personal.” It would take me ten years to understand what she meant by the pronouncement. Within this decade of designing clothes sold in boutiques and to private customers I became disenchanted.
Elucidation had finally come as to what Professor Darling meant: a successful fashion designer must be willing to work with others. I was not. For me, the creation of a dress (like a painting) is an autoimperious solemnity. Forming in MY mind, concoursing through MY fingers and materializing sacrosanct on MY mannequin, she is done. I refused “Could you do this in another colour?” I absolutely would not shorten or lengthen a hemline. And a bow on the left shoulder remained on the left.
This attitude is, of course, ridiculously stubborn but proved I was, indeed, too personal/sentimental/poetic for Fashion. Tennessee Williams wrote “Beauty’s a world of its own. It has a godly license.” And too Art. For within the borders of my canvas Grace Kelly never grows old. Love letters never yellow. The mode in Fashion is always current. And the bow stays put.
By 1990 my art had come full circle. I was back where I had begun as a little boy drawing pretty ladies wearing pretty dresses.
Having been very successful in representing myself in Atlanta and south Florida whereby clients purchased and took my Art all over the world (particularly the beloved Fashion Sketch), I had at the same time longed for a home (a House home).
By exclusive arrangement with Lewis & Sheron Textiles I found my way home.... this House where Art and heart flower.