Last Taxi to the Station, 11x14in, Digital Print, 2010
I was born in the steel mill town of Pittsburgh, PA in 1950. I was one of five children in a working class family. My childhood was pleasant and loving, but due to my extreme shyness, I kept to myself and used my imagination to build and draw things.
I have been making models since I was in grade school. Literally, I would take cigar boxes and create interiors out of found objects. There was a great sense of satisfaction in doing this. Miniatures, dollhouses, dioramas, train layouts and the like have always had a mesmerizing effect on me.
When I was in high school, my guidance counselor said I had no apparent creative talent that could be used for employment, so I should consider just graduating and going directly to work in the steel mills. Well, I didn’t take that advice to heart.
I’ve had many diverse occupations. I was an art director in advertising, which gave me a heart attack at 33 – clearly a sign to get out of that profession. At that point, it occurred to me I wanted to be a model-maker. Without any hesitation, I set up interviews with all of the local model shops in the Boston area. One small company said they would let me work for one week to evaluate my skill. At the end of that week, I was hired full-time. The owner didn’t even know my last name when he wrote me my first paycheck.