A few weeks into a tour of duty in Vietnam with the Coast Guard in 1969, I came to the realization that the anti war protestors were right, and soon after my discharge in 1970, I sought out the "counter culture". That path led me to communal living environments in Colorado, Vermont, and Virginia. In every one of these communities there were people who created metalwork, and I would watch and assimilate styles and techniques as they worked. After a couple of years, when one of my housemates (a leather smith by trade) picked up a torch and started making and selling belt buckles (that I thought were pretty crude), I thought to myself "I've been watching this long enough . . . I'm pretty sure I could make an ugly belt buckle myself." So I made some pretty crude belt buckles in the spring of 1972, hitchhiked to Washington DC, and sold them at a couple of leather shops. I soon branched out into making brass & copper jewelry using the tools and techniques of my late mentor and best friend, Michael R. Murphy |http://www.murphyties.com/
My skills grew, and into the mid 80's I was very successful, selling my work at shows along the East Coast. I enrolled in the California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland, CA. in 1983 to try to acquire some better design skills, and during my second year there, my older brother who was running the family construction business (that I had no interest in) made me an offer that I (with 3 children and 1 on the way) couldn't refuse, so from that time until his passing in 2010, I did administrative and managing work for "the company". Supply side economics closed the office that I was working out of, and at age 62, I the choice of a relocation to the struggling main office 90 miles away or picking up the torch again. I've opted for the torch.
The "Ride 'Um George'" comes from a T-shirt that Murphy purchased and stenciled for me at a rodeo in Chesaw Washington. I chose that name as I climb back into the art saddle as an homage to him.
More artisan than artist, I prefer working in brass, bronze, nickel silver, and copper over fine metals. These materials are not only more affordable for me (and my customers), they're more suited to my tools and techniques. Early on in this latest incarnation as a working artist, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to make, and how to display/market my work. In this effort I have been greatly assisted by some dear friends from the early days, Bill Baldwin (metal smith and leather worker) of Lynchburg, VA, and George Post (photographer) of Richmond CA |http://www.craftphoto.com/. I also want to mention my good friend & mechanic associate Leon Butler for all of his help with the Plasma & Mig devices. Their assistance has been invaluable and is greatly appreciated.