I have always said that I behave like a two-year-old. No not the temper tantrums, but the curiosity, questioning, habit of going full out and then dropping into sleep. No middle ground.
As I started high school in Seattle, I was fascinated by my Science class. Not the science of my science class, but the various symmetries of the organisms in the tide pools of the Sound and in the waters of Hood Canal.
Then I moved. No more Puget Sound, No more Hood Canal. But then there was Advanced Biology... more cool-looking things. I announced to my counselor that I wanted to be an artist. She announced back that Sputnik had gone up. So? Well, my country needed me to concentrate on Science and Math! OK... the things in Biology were pretty AND, we had to draw them. And oh... we had an observatory at my high school .... we had to do a project around the telescope! So, of course, why not a special disk attached so I could photograph sun spots! Of course.... observe and interpret!
College.... Science....Art...In college, one can do both. So after drawing all the invertebrates in the paleontology lab, and signing up for the darkroom class, I was back and forth... my science lab coat doubled as my oil painting smock.
Thus a degree in Zoology; minor...Art.
Post College I worked in Washington D.C. for the Smithsonian Institution where I was able to use both art and science as an exhibit label writer and PR person. Then I worked for the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Ocean Engineering. Both jobs amazing and tapping both my loves.
I moved back to California settling in Mill Valley, working with Ann and Dick O’Hanlon. There I furthered my dedication to observation and interpretation, working with Ann in her studio and Dick in his. Their incredible studio which is now the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts was an off-the-charts experience for me with a steady stream of artists dropping by to share their current works in all media. Most notably for my young eyes was Larry Halprin deciding we should all view Jim Broughton’s (also there) “The Bed.” A big deal that evening in the days of real projectors blasting on the studio wall.
Teaching came next starting in the East Bay, Central Coast, and San Joaquin Valley of California. I used my camera to document students and allowed them to use the camera to learn to “see.” Even 5th graders can spool film in the “darkroom” bag totally blind. The “roll” took ten images. I rolled them myself. They did the developing of the negatives. I printed the images in my darkroom. Great eyes. Great images. Great times. I have taught Kindergarten through adults.
As a teacher, my “focus” was to see help students of all ages see the relationships that naturally exist. The principles of art and the principles that manage any system are tangible. The relationship that exists between the artist, the artist’s tools, and the artist’s spaces all contribute to his or her art.
Today, here, I devote full time to the camera and the computer: They are tools of “in-sight. “
The Artists-As-Art project grew from those early days of watching Ann and Dick O’Hanlon, and the artists and students who worked in Mill Valley, along with watching my father, Duke Schoonover, photographer.
You might call it a fascination with context, figure ground, ecosystem, negative and positive space.... call it what you will, it is the Tao of everything. Relationship is everything. So, I invite you to observe and interpret but most of all, develop a relationship with the image as art!
“ Art and Science are really the same. In both, you
observe and then interpret your observations."
"From the smallest detail to aerial vistas, there is so much to see"