I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. I thought Edmonton was great because it was like Hoth for half the year. My childhood was filled with creating adventures with my toys, riding my bike around the neighbourhood like Elliot from E.T. and drawing. I remember running in after seeing "the Empire Strikes Back" and drawing out what I thought Revenge of the Jedi was going to be like (For the record, it included a water planet, Luke's BROTHER and a Wookie vs Wampa battle). I also used to draw and photocopy my own comics which I sold to relatives. Sad that I actually haven't changed at all.
Later on skateboarding and punk rock topped my interest list. I remember seeing an S.N.F.U poster in the window at Sound Connection and being drawn to it. It looked dark, violent and scary, but I knew I had to be a part of whatever it was. I started doing gig posters for the local music scene in high school. Green Day, Nirvana, and Desmond Dekker are the most notable as well as local bands S.N.F.U, Jr. Gone Wild and the smalls. During this time I was also the frontman for UNSOUND, a hardcore punk/metal crossover band who ruled the scene for a year or two. After the band broke up, I was lost, and decided to refocus on my first love, art.
I attended Grant MacEwan University (then a Community College) where I rediscovered my love of comics thanks to a chance purchase of Mike Allred's Madman. I remember reading it and thinking, I could do this, it wasn't like a Big 2 comic where it was so technically advanced that it seemed unattainable to produce a comic. This was the doorway to Love and Rockets, Eightball, Cud and Hellboy. I had to do some soul searching again to rectify whether or not I was meant to be a designer, illustrator, or actually take seriously the notion of becoming a comic creator.
After graduation and a complete lack of success finding a job in the field, I followed a gal out to Vancouver. I used to just sit and fill sketchbooks with drawings, having just about given up on the design industry save for a few jobs. A burlesque troupe, an ultimate fighting team and a Jackass-style internet variety show were the kind of work I was getting. I called it "Outlaw Art". It was during this time I created The Bad Guys, as well as what would become my self-published comic zine "Wine, Women and Song".
It was because of Wine, Women and Song that my old bud from the punk scene Corb Lund asked me to draw up some art for him. This led to one of the highlights of my career, illustrating the cover of one of my all time favourite albums, "Modern Pain". This of course led to us producing a comic for Corb called "Western Tales".
Thanks to Western Tales, Calgary writer, comic book and country music fan James Davidge heard about my work. He was looking for an artist to fill the pages of a graphic novel he was envisioning about the life of legendary Alberta maverick John Ware. "The Duchess Ranch of Old John Ware" was published about a year later, another major highlight of my career. A symposium on the life of John Ware featuring James, musician Shawn Canning and myself was held at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and was attended by over 100 guests including descendants of characters in the book! The hits just kept on coming. Another collaboration with James Davidge, "13 Minutes" was another graphic novel about a 20th century Alberta family, eugenics, hockey and the dada art movement. It was well received and even reached #1 on the Calgary Herald bestselling book list.
"Road to Ruin" represents another high point in my journey as an artist and storyteller. It is the first collection from my "Wine, Women and Song" comic, and also contains a subtle subtext about my personal philosophy on art.
Art is not safe. Art is not societies, groups, or clubs. Art can't be juried. It doesn't wait to be invited, it shows up without beer and eats all the chips. Art is the guy in his basement with an out of tune guitar recording on his tape deck. Art is the dead guy his landlord finds with an entire apartment filled with drawings of a universe nobody has ever seen before. Art is doing what hasn't been done before. Art is freedom, it's fun. It's wild.
Let it live