When I was in high school, Chico Senior High to be exact, I majored in art and even received an award for art from the Lion’s Club. When I went to see my counselor before entering college, I told him that I wanted to major in art. He told me that I needed to go into industrial arts because the Russian’s had sent Sputnik into orbit and so we had to do the same. We did not need artists – we needed people to manufacture rockets, satellites, and all the supporting equipment, etc. So in the fall of 1961, I entered Chico State College as an industrial arts major.
For two and one half years I majored in girls, cars, booze, a job, and school (necessarily in that order). The summer of 1963 I went back to Newport, Rhode Island and went through Reserve Officer’s Candidate School for the Navy. I had been in the Naval Reserve since September of 1961.
Fall semester 1963 found me in the same majors and as a result, Chico State asked me not to return for a while. Since the only junior college was fifty miles away in Yuba City, California; I decided to enter the active Navy and join the fleet. Ironically, that semester I had changed my major to art and was fortunate to take an introductory class in printmaking from Dr. Janet E. Turner. I really enjoyed that class – but the Navy now had me for three years.
Jump forward to spring semester 1967. Chico State accepted me back and I was an art major. I took another class from “Janet”. It was a glorious time. I could only think of printmaking and no other form of art. Printmaking consumed me. Yes, I did have to take painting, ceramics and sculpture, but my heart was not in them.
Janet asked me in 1968 who was the best printmaking student at Chico State and without hesitation, I answered Mike Fiedler. You see Mike was doing some pretty phenomenal prints that looked like hippie posters from Haight-Ashbury with hearts, mushrooms, and clouds; I really liked them. Janet said “No…it’s you”. I was really flattered.
1969 found me printing up a storm. Trying new techniques and inventing others. Janet let me know that I was her pick to be her teaching assistant in the fall semester 1970. The summer of 1970 is when I went to Europe and was fortunate to visit M. C. Escher (see My Time with Escher” on my website).