Art has always been my passion — but I also loved science. My love of the two would result in one of the great dilemmas of my life. Before high school, they seemed so compatible. In high school, they waged war — at a time when I needed to make a career decision. I chose science. I completed high school with good grades in science and awards in art — and was accepted to Talladega College. At Talladega College I majored in biology but could not escape art and took a couple of art courses as electives from David C. Driskell, a magnificent colorist. My attempts to emulate Driskell’s use of color were, in my estimation, failures. So, I focused on black and white using the ink wash technique which Driskell taught me.
In graduate school at Howard University — except for the many pen and ink illustrations associated with my research in Protozoology — I created very little art. There was no painting for pleasure. However, illustrating manuscripts reinforced my love of the ink wash technique and the use of lines. After graduate school I returned to Talladega College as chair of the Science Division and the Biology Department but also became heavily involved in art. I worked mostly with India ink and the wash technique — very little color. Back then I was a minimalist and believed that color interfered with my expression of feelings.
I now use more color and a number of other media and techniques — often combining several. However, I still like lines and my palette is often limited to the earth tones. People have always been my subjects of choice; especially older and neglected people whose experiences show in their faces. Influenced by my involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and the continuing plight of a certain segment of the population, some of my work is social commentary. However, my range of subject matter is broad.
In 1974, I met Hale Woodruff at one of his exhibits in Atlanta — absolved me of any guilt about my duel career by noting that 'there has always been a great affinity between art and science.'