I grew up on Chicago’s West Side, South Side and in Robbins, Illinois. Graduated from Eisenhower High School and raised in a blue-collar household. My father was a factory foreman and my mother a classic 1950’s housewife.
We lived in the LeClaire Courts projects on the Southwest Side. My father played boogie woogie on his Grand Steinway piano and was oﬀered a gig with the Count Basie band, but he opted to marry my mother and raise a family.
We moved to Robbins because it was close to his job. He was a foreman at a plastics company. The poverty I saw in those Black West and South side communities shaped and molded how I looked at the world. I started to view Black communities with a more political consciousness. I started to view them as if they were colonies.
I moved to Aurora later in life because of a job opportunity – I worked 27 years in the private sector as a supervisor for an acoustic company. It was not a creative job, but nuts and bolts. My hands were like sandpaper. There is honor in work. Only in recent modern history have we become specialists.
In prior centuries, an artist could do a lot more than paint. They were architects, alchemists, engineers and scientists. All of my life accomplishments in art and writing are a product of the diversity of my life. Every job I have had. Every encounter with death. The pain of being homeless in the world. All of it contributed to my evolution as an artist and author.