I went through a period of obsession with the work of Gustav Klimt. I loved his use of pattern and colour and the fact that he painted people as it was my portfolio of portrait and figurative drawings that enabled me to attend art school. Though his faces often seemed expressionless, there was so much feeling in them.
I enjoyed drawing and painting nude female forms so much, I think because of the soft, organic shape that I'm drawn to, that I was asked if I was gay (I'm not, not that there's anything wrong with it). I've also incorporated his use of bronze, copper and gold leaf through the years, though sparingly. I love his use of symbols and imagery to tell a story and finally feel as though the canoes I've been creating the past few years finally connect that for me. I've also been drawn to his Biblical and mythical work, and perhaps some day I will embark on that path.
Another of the greatest inspirations of Klimt to me was that he was a founder of the Vienna Secession, a group whose goal was to help provide a platform to share the work of unconventional young artists publicly. That is my goal, too, as Arts & Culture Coordinator for our library. And by young, I have always believed that meant newer to the creative life rather than in age.