A R T I S T B I OEd’s art career had its roots in junior high school, where he doodled so much in his text books that he had to pay for some of them at the end of the school year. To prevent this problem from reoccurring in high school, he started to carry a small sketchbook to doodle in. Without having to frequently change pages to keep up with the teacher, he started to spend more time on each page, and his interest changed from patterns to drawing faces. He graduated from ball point pens and pencils to technical pens, and then to using color inks. Although he didn’t feel like his work was particularly good, he kept getting high grades in art, and took all the high-school art courses he could just to get easy “A’s” in an otherwise difficult all-academic school (Central High School in Philadelphia, PA). His work advanced to the point where he was accepted with a scholarship at the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) (now University of the Arts). Ed entered PCA in 1971, at the age of 17, as a film-making major, and later switched majors to environmental design, but his most lasting inspiration from his time there came from drawing teacher David Kettner, who drew small amazingly complex mandalas. Although they were beautiful, Ed was totally awed by the amount of time evidenced in such a small space. He also gained many other insights from Kettner’s perrenialist teaching style, where he would often quote the same platitudes about art in his discussions. Frequently in his class you would hear students having “a-ha” moments where the insights that were being offered where taken in. A couple examples of these insights are … "Gray is the enemy of the painter" (Delacroix), and, “There are no lines in nature, only areas of color, one against another”. (Edouard Manet). Ed left PCA after a year because he did not know what he wanted to do. After traveling around the United States on his motorcycle, he took a job working nights at the post office because this allowed him to pursue his creative endeavors. When he witnessed the working conditions there, this lead him into a 20-year span as a union activist, which while not completely taking all of his creative energy – it took much of it. The newsletter that Ed created, edited, designed and produced won the "Overall Best Newsletter" Award from a trade organization with thousands of member publications in 1983.During this period, in the 1970’s, his artistic interest moved towards explorations of patterns of lines and the way that different patterns interacted. In the visual language that developed, horizontal and vertical lines could represent any dichotomy (good and bad, right and wrong, etc.). Solid shapes represented fixed ideas, progressions of lines and patterns are the layers of complication that effect these basic forces. He was fascinated by M.C. Escher’s paradoxical geometric form drawings, and with the many variations of patterns that could be created with simple colored lines (repetition, progression, randomness, and all their variations and combinations). His work also explored the concepts of assimilation and contrast that were the basis of Op Art. (Assimilation is the attempt by the brain to group similar appearing objects, and contrast is the attempt by the brain to place a shape in either the foreground or the background of a picture.) Although he could not see his own work “all of the way though”, he got much feedback from others about the mind-bogglingly deep spaces that were created by his work. During one of his frequent trips to the art museums in Washington D.C., he had the first “peak” art experience that moved him towards the artistic vision that he holds to this day. There was a painting in the Hirshhorn Museum, which he initially walked right past. When he came back around to it (it is a round museum) there were several people making a fuss over it. Although the canvas appeared to be all red, with no other markings what-so-ever, after looking at it for a short period of time, oval shapes were clearly seen that were moving through the picture space – not only two dimensionally, but most amazingly, in the third dimension as well. Later when researching this phenomenon, he learned that the human eye only has so many sensors for each color, and when the sensors get overwhelmed, the brain knows that there is more information, so it starts to essentially make things up. A few years later, in 1977, also at the Hirshhorn, he experienced the most profound artistic experience of his life (to date) at the Kenneth Noland Retrospective. Noland is known for his “target” paintings that some people ridiculed at the time. There were many target paintings in the show, as well as other works featuring sharp angles. To that point Ed’s typical experience with Noland’s painting had been for the different color bands to optically mix. (For example a reddish line and yellowish line would start to appear as one orange line). While your brain processes this, it "flashes" back-and-forth between seeing two lines and one, and causes other unusual and interesting visual effects, such as perceived movement and the illusion of depth. But that day one of the paintings produced an exponentially greater effect. First the bands optically mixed, and then the light colored center turned dark – then black. Even at that point it was an amazing experience, but then the, now dark, core started to spin, and then radiant light emanated from behind the spinning black disk. Again at that point it was the most amazing visual experience of Ed’s life – but then it reached a much higher level … the edges of the painting disappeared, and the view became like viewing a solar eclipse at close range. (Check out http://www.kennethnoland.com/.) Ed never experienced another painting to that level again, but it did inspire him. He embraced the idea of a higher level art experience that would not require any previous, or culturally specific, knowledge of art to appreciate – but one that was enabled by pushing the limitations of sensory capabilities. He started to work larger – substituting permanent markers for technical pens, in much of his work, and increasing his focus on the power of color. The work of this period culminated in a one-man show at the Sage Gallery in Gladwyne, PA in 1985. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way over the next decade that permanent markers are not permanent at all, particularly the reds and yellows. The 1990’s were devoted to family life, but he continued to draw and paint (paying great attention to the permanence of his materials). In the past few years, his creative output has increased greatly as his children reached college age. A woodworking project designed and built by Ed, that features many of the same visual ideas as his art, is featured in the book "Handmade Houses" by Steven Paul Whitsitt and Tina Skinner (Schiffer Publishing, 2008).