"Since before I can remember, I have loved to draw. The last time I remember taking an art class before college was in 4th grade for one semester. After high school, I dove into art classes like a man coming out of a desert. At long last, I could express myself, get feedback and be pushed by teachers and great artists alike… yet within this seed of Self there was a problem. Despite my abundant creative output in undergraduate and Master’s programs, I felt my art was empty and unsatisfying. My abstract installations always focused on spiritual themes but the message was nearly always lost on my audience, even when they were accompanied by extensive write-ups. This was deeply troubling to me and I began to resent my Art because it seemed to lack real impact on people. Since that time, I’ve realized how deeply I want my art to serve mankind with beauty and elevated ideals, yet in 2011, I was like a man with amnesia searching for his home.
This frustration led to many conversations with my friend, Niki Covington, who had recently returned from studying classicism at The Florence Academy in Italy. The summer of 2012, as we worked together painting a house, our conversations began moving my heart to inquire more about the classical paradigm. He demonstrated several key principles that blew my mind with their simplicity and effectiveness. I took them to my students at Southern Utah University and their work showed immediate improvements. The light had finally been turned on for me and so many things began making sense to me. The home I had been searching for had begun to materialize.
It had been a long-time dream to help design LDS temples but the path was so long and expensive I had put that dream on hold in 2010. After my summer with Niki, two synchronous events occurred: The LDS church decided to make all of its future temples classically designed and the BAA opened in New York City, specializing in classical architecture. After some calls and scrambling to fulfill deadlines, my application was in, scholarships awarded and September 2012, I was on my way to BAA!
… And that’s when I realized that I knew hardly anything about Art…
I felt like a computer whose entire operating system was being pulled out. It took 8 months of diligent work and study to “get it”... and when it clicked, it CLICKED! What had started as the sun peaking over the mountains that summer of 2011 had now become a full blown desert morning in 2013. My interest in geometry and abstraction now found a flourishing when combined with its figural counterpart. The opposite forces in art were suddenly finding ways of blending and working together. The toolbox of options opened to me as never before and my home became all the more obvious.
Since graduating in 2013, I have continued my education with the BAA, had opportunities to help design aspects of LDS temples and a prospective WW1 Memorial that was featured in Forbes.com. They have enabled me to teach my students with greater effectiveness and be sure of my abilities to convey almost any message desired. An unforeseen consequence of my education at the BAA was how my heart was now able to be moved by powerful works of art. Whereas my head had been the thing engaged in Modern/Conceptual Art, I now enjoy being swept away by beautiful paintings, sculpture, and architecture the way a Beethoven symphony transcends the mind and penetrates the heart. It has also helped me to discern quality in art. My intuition has been strengthened in a completely unexpected way that allows me to hone in on the best of the best, not in a snobby way, but in a way that complements my desire to be taught by the best artists throughout history.
It’s been a remarkable journey and I’m so enthusiastic about the future of classicism."