This past weekend I was honored to receive a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for my book cover for "Wolves" by Simon Ings. It is hard to put into words how much this means to me - I did my best during my short speech. What I couldn't say in such a short period of time is how much I owe to so many people, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them, for I know that I wouldn't be the artist I am now without them. This medal is as much theirs as mine.
In 2009 I had dropped out of art school after my freshman year at the age of 31 and I was living out of my car. Making a living at art, much less winning an award, seemed an impossible distance away. Sterling Hundley reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in working with him. That moment of kindness, that simple act on his part, irrevocably changed my life. I owe him more than I can ever repay. My years of study with him, and our friendship, are something I will treasure my entire life. Thank you, Sterling.
My first art education was at the Illustration Academy, and the instructors and visiting artists there overwhelmed me with their knowledge and generosity. Thank you to John English, Mark English, Brent Watkinson, Doug Chayka, Anita Kunz, Jon Foster, Gary Kelley, George Pratt, Robert Meganck, CF Payne, Barron Storey, and Sterling Hundley for training my brain.
I've also been lucky to share a studio with some amazing artists - Leslie Herman, Josh George, Edward Kinsella III, Andrew R. Wright, Aaron Riley - and they have all been kind enough not to point out how much I have stolen from them in my work.
Brian Stauffer has been tremendously encouraging of my work, and his kind words have given me courage to keep experimenting and pushing my personal voice in my art. Thank you Brian, and thanks to you and Marc Burckhardt for the drinks and inspiring conversation after the Society opening.
Five years ago something like this seemed impossible, out of my reach, but it turns out the stars are in your reach, if you stand on the shoulders of giants. Thank you so much everyone.