I am a photographer, sculptor, and artistic engineer.
My approach to art often times comes from my background in being a software engineer. In engineering, you have to take an abstract idea and figure out how to make it work. Engineers take an artist's sketches and turn them into structurally sound buildings, for example. Creation is not just about the mental picture, but about actually making it work.
Some of my tools have been with me for most of my life. I've been an avid photographer for as long as I can remember. Most of my recent growth in art was sparked at the Crucible after I moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area to work after graduation. At the Crucible and as part of the larger community, I learned a lot of interesting lessons about how to approach abstract art. I also discovered neon, which brought me into a detailed exploration of light art.
I build with clay, glass, neon, metal, and electronics. I shoot film, but edit digitally. In everything I do, there invariably ends up being invention and my personal set of tools that you cannot buy in stores. I'm so gear obscessed that I end up using old gear that works very well on the used market instead of spending tons of cash to try and chase the latest and greatest.
I'm always curious about how things work, how complicated stuff reduces down to simple parts. Biology and organic chemistry scare me because they don't reduce down so comfortably.
Since I was a kid, I've been an avid reader, so I have a certain amount of literary history to draw from, even if a good sized chunk of it is fantasy and science fiction. I've got enough programming and mathematical experience to be able to understand, on an analytical basis, what the light is really doing when it bounces around a scene. I watch ballet and Broadway. I see things in the world and decide to try to recreate them.
All of this collects in the back of my brain until ideas come out.
The San Francisco Bay has been a beacon for geeks for decades now and somehow, after graduating, I found myself out here too. I've lived in both the east coast and the midwest before that. There's some huge advantages to living out here and a bunch of things that make me wish I could leave. Yet something keeps me here.
In many areas, the sum of my knowledge results not from any single teacher or influence or book, but from heavy research. So I've read a bunch of books on photography from a variety of sources and checked my conclusions through experimentation. In terms of photography, I'm entirely self taught, although very little of this was from blind trial-and-error.