From the time I was a young child growing up in Detroit, Michigan, I was always attracted to drawing pictures. My maternal grandfather was a house painter, but on his own time he was an artist. I spent many hours with my grandfather as he painted in every room in his house. His main subject was most often a family member. I have two drawings he did of me, and I also have one of his self-portraits. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away when I was very young and he remarried a woman who was not as tolerant of his painting in any room he pleased. After my grandfather’s death, his wife disappeared from everyone’s life, and along with her she took all of my grandfather’s art work. To this day, no one knows what happened to the remainder of his drawings and paintings. Perhaps one day I’ll find them somewhere.
Because of my grandfather’s influence in my life, my mother was determined to allow my interest in art to flourish. We made frequent trips to the Detroit Institute of Art, which, to this day, houses some of the greatest art collections in the country. My mother also arranged for me to have private art instruction from Ben Glicker and from Robert Dowd at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. Ben Glicker was a terrific artist, but his main interest was in teaching art to eager students like me. Robert Dowd, however, moved to Los Angeles, and, in 1962, his work was included, along with Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Phillip Hefferton, Joe Goode, Edward Ruscha, and Wayne Thiebaud, in the historically important and ground-breaking "New Paintings of Common Objects," curated by Walter Hopps at the Pasadena Art Museum. This exhibition is historically considered the first "Pop Art" Exhibition in America. These painters started a movement, in a time of social unrest, which shocked America and the Art world and changed Art forever, "Pop Art."
One of my first drawings was of Abraham Lincoln when I was about 7 years old. It is stored, rolled up, and in a box where many of my early works dwell, in the garage. Like my grandfather, I also painted a self-portrait during my senior year in high school. I graduated from Frank Cody High School in 1963. Prior to attending Frank Cody High School in my junior and senior years, I attended Cass Technical High School, majoring in art. It turned out that I was not very interested in sitting in an art classroom, and I transferred to the neighborhood school where music became my new interest. Although I had changed my interest from art to music, I continued to paint. When I was still in high school, two of my paintings were purchased by Mama Mia’s Restaurant in Detroit, and family members were recipients of many of my paintings.
Throughout my life, the struggle remained within me, wondering what would have happened had I pursued a career in art instead of music. I continued drawing and painting, and I enrolled in life-drawing classes from time to time. After retiring from my music career in 2012, I was finally able to return to my love of art, and I now can enjoy painting every day, and all day if I choose. There is no longer an inner struggle, and I am totally at peace with this choice.