Summer of 1981 was a transitional year in my life. With one year of University under my belt, I made the risky decision to pursue an Honors degree in Fine Arts, believing that if I enjoyed what I was doing I would find a way to make a living at it. Knowing full well no one would be lining up to hire a Fine Arts grad upon completion, I took matters into my own hands and registered a business.

There are two polar opposites when it comes to how visual artists create their work. At one end you have those begin a work with absolutely no idea of what it will look like when finished. Abstract expressionist painters typically fall into this category, starting with a blank canvas and filling it in with gestural strokes until it feels done. It’s a process that relies on spontaneous artistic decision making and experimentation, emphasizing the process itself as the art.

The distinction between fine art and functional art has been debated for centuries, but as a practitioner of both for over 36 years I have come to appreciate that each can coexist in the same object. Paintings and sculpture are typically created for visual and intellectual stimulation only, while functional art is designed to serve a purpose first and look beautiful at the same time. Which is more valuable?