In 2011, I was enrolled at the Long Beach Model Boat Shop. There I learned the fundamental lesson of all art forms: patience. I spent weeks sanding hulls, keels, and masts. The director approved my work, assembled the boats, and I painted them. I observed and I absorbed. After several summers attending the program, I began crafting boats from scratch at home. Being 12 at the time it was not easy working with a dull, unreliable jigsaw blade. Smoothing the mess created by the jigsaw with a handheld file was tedious. Despite this, I slowly shaped the wood to my desired curvature. Gradually, I acquired and gained proficiency with better suited supplies and power tools; the garage transformed into my woodworking workshop.
A kaleidoscope of ideas whirled through my mind. My ambition was to create complex pieces that evoked wonder. I read books on boats and ships, sketched scaled theoretical designs, created cardstock templates, then traced the template patterns onto redwood. I developed a method of construction by stacking planks of wood then cutting my designs with a bandsaw thereby creating intricately layered decks and hulls. I exchanged my old sewing machine and invested in a model best fit for heavy sailcloth to achieve a professional hem. My delicate use ofpinstriping enhanced the paint job. These improvements were time-consuming processes, but I was driven by mynatural desire to pursue endeavors in depth. To date, I have completed over 100 boats. They measure from 4 inches to a 9 foot, 115 sail catamaran. This year, I gained some broader public recognition. I was featured in a local newspaper article and an online Long Beach Post piece which included a video.
As a distraction and mental break from some of the complex engineering problems I faced boat building, I turned to abstract painting. Oftentimes, the wood in my scrap bucket was activated by pigment as it was recycled into my paintings. I liked to use unconventional mediums: putty, hair gel, sawdust, super glue, broken frames, spray paint, and oil sticks. Refined detailed woodworking and intended disordered painting, two separate entities, yet for me, they went hand in hand.
At some point, I perceived the intangible benefits of carrying out my work. When I fell into a rhythm, I was able to tap an inner stillness and calm, a state of present-moment awareness. This disposition helped me organize my mind. Another comfort I gained was feeling a deep connection to my grandfather, whom I never met. He was a self-taught woodworker and artist. I felt honored to carryon his legacy.
My works are not based on professional instruction, but by creative thinking blended in union with gatherings fromthe tangible world. My craft has transformed into much more than a hobby.