My biggest artistic influences were my great uncle and my cousin Christine. My great uncle worked on a Clay medallion sculpture portrait of me. My cousin Christine showed me how to shade. The sun coming through the window on a candlestick. She said to look at the candlestick us if it was a photograph negative. That made sense to me.
I never really did decide that I wanted to be an artist I just was.
The advice I would give to other artists. Inspire each other. Find artists that fit and can carry each other along with positive feed back. That is what will keep you creating, painting and drawing.