|Q: What were your earliest maze creations like?
A: The first maze I can remember ever making was the morning of a heavy snow storm. The snow was three feet high all over the our front area in Chappaqua, NY. I started to walk through and maze trails in the snow, the lawn was quite large. After about three or four hours I had my first maze on about a quarter acre. I was about eleven years old.
Q: How did your parents, friends and relatives relate to your talent?
A: Well my entire family has been creators as far back as I know. There have been poets, musicians and opera singers to name a few. Our family actually includes a few well known celebrities. I suppose it wasn't uncommon to have a strong artistic ability. When I decided I wanted to make it my life my mother couldn't have been more supportive; except when I would draw on anything and everything in the house. Nothing was spared. I remember unrolling a roll of toilet paper, drawing on it, then putting it back for future use. Admittedly I was overboard!
A: Most of the people I come in contact with don't know what to think about what I do. People tend to want to fit you into some kind of category and if you don't fit - they choose to discard you. I have met many people who have tried to discourage me and tried to break my will to succeed. The day you stop dreaming and acting on what you desire, though, is the day you fail. I don't resent anyone for their doubtfullness, they are the hurdles that propel me to where I am going. They are to be appreciated for their contribution to my life.
Q: At which point did you know you would want to make a living as a freelance artist?
A: As a boy I wasn't sure about being an artist. I actually thought I wanted to be a scientist or an inventor. Then as I got older my passion for creating art was so unbridled, I decided to become and artist/inventor. I left home to become this great artist I had always dreamed of. I found out that washing dishes, cooking, and sweeping floors was the only path to my goal. Slowly, I got an art job here and there. It was quite an experience.
Q: Who were the people responsible for encouraging you and/or inspiring you to pursue a career in art?
A: My mother, grandmother, and aunt were always encouraging me to pursue art. My father was an artist. He and I have always had a bond through art. Some of the things he taught me I still use today. I have been lucky in my life to have lots of successful business and artistic types of people giving me advice. Besides my wife Elizabeth being the grounding force in my work, I would have to say that my friend and agent David Goldman has given me nothing but guidance and encouragement throughout my experience. I would be remiss if I didn't mention one of our guardian angels, Joseph Sugarman, who has added a very important piece to the Mazemaster puzzle to date, and I will always be grateful.
Q: As a starving artist, how did you survive starting out in this career?
A: Well, as I said earlier, I don't think there was a job I haven't had: art stores, printing, factories, lawn maintenance, food and toy stores, frame shops, and probably every job in the restaurant business. When I was first starting out I used to make greeting cards (handmade) and sell them on the street in Greenwich Village, NYC. I sold my first piece of art to a Texan at an outdoor exhibit for $250. At the time my rent was $175 a month. It was a windfall!
Q: Are mazes the only kind of art you create?
A: Mazes actually came later. Most of my early work was more humorous with a funny type of cartoon style. I always felt that art is not what you do but what you think and when you are ready to (do) you must use what the world has to offer and create with that. Whether it is clay, stone, paint, wood, plastic, or paper you must use whatever you have and create beauty with it. Not beauty in other's eyes, but in your own. I hope that before I am gone I will have creations in every medium there is!
Q: Every artist has some reason why they do what they do. Why is it you create this type of work?
A: Your right. It seems every artist has some sort of criterion by which he lives his or her life. The first comes from my childhood, but it wasn't really solidified until I was about 18 years old. I once worked for Richie Havens, the singer, a wonderful human being. Four of us were involved in an animation studio, and in one particular meeting with Warner Brothers we were told by the person who bought animated programming that we will buy anything you produce, all you have to do is make us say one word - "WOW!". If you make us say "WOW!" we'll buy it. For me that made everything fit into place. At that moment I could finally articulate my criterion. My job is to blow you away with what I do. If I don't blow you away, I haven't done my job. So for me, every piece has to be a no holds barred WOW! If I don't do that then I go back to the drawing board with the intention of going past what I had just done. The second thing is to add to the world's portfolio that which doesn't exist. To give it what it doesn't have. If I do that I have made my mark and added something to the world before my time comes to relinquish the torch.
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