Neil began his involvement with The Arc of Anchorage in 1971. It wasn’t until a friend suggested he take a class at Sparc: a creative place in 2002 that he tried his hand at creative arts. Upon first suggestion Neil declined but finally caved saying “okay, I’ll try one class to get you off my back!” He has been a dedicated maker ever since.
Neil has participated in classes such as fiber arts, ceramics, stained glass, and costume design. He identifies stained glass as his preferred art form stating “I like that you have to have patience and pay attention to what you are doing. Because if you don’t you could get in trouble!” His recently completed piece “4th Avenue Theatre” took over a year and a half to make. Neil claims “People thought I would get tired of it. I said I don’t care how long it takes, I’m going to get it done.”
Themes that can be recognized in Neil’s work include Alaskana, sports, and various interests of his friends and family. Neil is inspired by his loved ones and enjoys learning more about them so he can incorporate their interest into his projects. Once he has decided on a subject matter for his work, he looks through photos and books for related imagery. Next he puts his own spin on it by adding details he comes up with himself to make it original. Neil hopes that people feel joyful and happy when they view his artwork.
“If you think that you don’t have any talent, you should just give it a try. You might surprise yourself and find talent you never knew you had. Just give it a try, you never know.”