I knew I wanted to be recognized as a professional artist when I won a local contest sponsored by my hometown radio station looking for a new logo. I was then in the sixth grade. About that same time my mother enrolled me in a local arts program for kids, the Living Arts Center. I received many compliments from my peers and teacher for my drawing skills. That was a big self-esteem boost. With a pencil I could faithfully reproduce anything. I was especially found of scientific illustrations, which I practiced copying from a set of encyclopedias. I found myself spending hours upon hours copying the illustrations in those books with my colored pencils. It was in those daily-drawing activities that I learned about perspective drawing and color theory via the color wheel overlays I discovered in those encyclopedias, and I became enthralled by the life stores of the famous artists and art history. Later, when I entered high school, my understanding of what art was, and could be, more than creating pretty pictures, I discovered that art could teach others about the world at large. That year, 1966, I was swept up in America’s civil rights movement and I discovered other black artist such as Charles White, Jacob Lawrence, and Sam Gilliam, and the impact black artists were having articulating the pride and the anguish of black America. I was now taking weekend art classes at our local museum, the Dayton Art Institute, in Dayton, Ohio. My instructors further exposed me to the prideful work of black folk artist of the Deep South. Because of those exposures and through the discipline of training my inner eye my own work began to shift away from creating art that replicated nature to creating art that would educate others on who I am and what it means to be me, a black man in America today. Over time I became attracted to the idea of being an artist activist. I did posters for local civil rights groups, participated in their rallies, and organized within my white majority high school, art focused happenings aimed at disrupting the common held and as I saw it, often flawed narrative on the black American experience. Heady stuff for a teenager but it was the 60’s and I was constantly being pushed by the events of the time to lend my art voice to expressing the frustrations of my neighbors and friends over the events of the time, the Vietnam war, the soaring oratory of Martin Luther King and later his assassination. Which brings me to the present. My present day work is meant to spark an ongoing conversation between human beings about the meaning of life. Conversations, I believe, need to be had. These conversations can lead to awareness, soul searching, and even empathy. This ultimately changes the skewed narrative that had been, and in my opinion, in some cases, continues to be propagated by our art institutions, intentionally or not, on what constitutes beauty, power and wealth, gender and racial superiority. My artist goal is to continue to add to the new narrative, a narrative that depicts a multi layered and complex storyline. A narrative that challenges preconceived attitudes tempered by the hope and power of sacred symbols employed as the light illuminating the pathway of a new focus on encouragement, hope, and resilience for those lesser known voices of a multicultural America.