At the age of eight, I received two of the most important gifts that would become the passions of my life’. My first camera was under the Christmas tree and then I got my first sewing machine for my birthday. The world of fashion opened up to me as I sewed my own clothes every week, and wore them to school to rave reviews. I didn’t come from a family with great wealth so I learned early to maximize every yard of fabric and every roll of 24 exposure film. Yes, I said film. After receiving a degree in Fashion Design from Miami International University of Art and Design, I spent the next 3 years perfecting my design and sewing skills.
I have been a photographer and degreed fashion designer for 40 years, with Asheville being my home for the last half of that; and finally my two passions have met. Over the past 2 years I have been consumed by a new project where I deconstruct my photographs of Asheville and rebuild them as mandalas. My current “Asheville Imagined” art and umbrella show is at the Capella on 9 at the AC Hotel in downtown Asheville. Along with numerous other exhibitions, I have permanent installations in such places at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, the new Embassy Suites Riverfront in Greenville South Carolina, and the AC Marriott Hotel Lobby.
In the past 2 years these mandala images have evolved into a clothing and umbrella line which is available at the Grand Bohemian in Asheville NC and Charleston SC, Biltmore Estate, Asheville Yoga Boutique, Omni Grove Park Inn and many other other fine stores and museums. I supplied custom signature scarves and umbrellas for the patrons of the Vizcaya (museum and home) Centennial Gala and the 2018 Gala; and performed the same service for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, where they raised over 16 million dollars, and proclaimed by the Robb Report as one of the top 10 entertainment events in the world for the wealthy, as well as the prestigious SW Florida Wine and Food Fest
Most of my photographic career has been photographing people. Until 3 years ago when I captured some images of a few iconic downtown Asheville buildings and started creating mandalas from them. A friend commented that it would make a great scarf, so I made one out of it. Then I decided to create fabric with all the mandalas and make a pair of leggings. I gave my girlfriend that pair as a goodbye present at a ladies luncheon and that day took orders for 17 pairs that same day, without even having a website. I was launched at lunch. The next day, Biltmore Estate called with an order, after I submitted scarves to them of Biltmore.
The very next week, I stopped in at New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village and the sales girl asked me where I got the scarf and leggings I was wearing and I gave her a business card. Five minutes later the owner, John Cramm, called me and asked if he and his 3 buyers (who were meeting at that time) could see what I was wearing, that the sales girl had given him my card. I told him I was on my way to Grove Park Inn to show them my small collection that I only had 20 minutes, but would be happy to stop by. I ran in very quickly, showed them everything I had, and he placed an order. That’s how fast it happened. John had said to me at the time, “I don’t know if you even have a concept of how big this could be, the possibilities are endless”. It wasn’t long after that, that I designed and created hundreds of scarves for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, donors of distinction. All profits went to special needs children. The business was guiding me every step of the way.