I gained consciousness in this weird world of ours in the late Spring of 1996. It was a June night, Princeton, New Jersey, and I was already five days late to my own life. What can I say? I had a very comfortable, rent-controlled place and all the intentions to stay, but, hey, Mama knows best.
My mother was a photo editor for a magazine at the time. She was a dancer, too — hence my long, limber legs and oddly impressive list of dance credits from high school musicals. Mama played Ziggy Stardust and Elvis Costello for what seemed like every day of my childhood, and I deeply thank her for that.
My pops was a musician working in the music industry. By the time I was four, my father trained my ear so well that I could name every band that Andre Gardner was spinning on 102.9 MGK. I became ritualistic: I blasted my Van Halen and The Scorpions Greatest Hits CDs on the way to every Pop Warner practice I went to. Mind you I played football for eight years. That’s a lot of Eddie and Uli. And for that, I am 95% positive that my “Eruption” air-guitar would kick your ass.
Anyways: being raised in such an artistic household, I was lucky enough to be presented with a vast amount of inspirations and teachings. Because of my beautiful parents and my brother Warren, I have become the man that I am today.
*insert cute pic of me giving a corny thumbs up*
You see, when I was four years-old, I wasn’t just singing along to “More Than A Feeling” by Boston, I also co-starred, co-wrote, and co-directed my first film. Great, Grand, Gargantuan Gorillas. It’s an action/adventure epic that follows me and my brother, two surfers, as we search for the buried treasure of Monte Cristo. You can’t make this shit up, man–this short film is literally 25 minutes long with a full, five act structure that my dad filmed on our classic, clunky-but-lovable, VHS camcorder. There’s even an Ozzy Osbourne face cut-out in a dream sequence, and a Mattel gorilla that’s voiced by my father. So yes, it is a must-watch.
As absurd as this whole thing sounds (and you’re right: it is very absurd), making this movie with my family gave me the bug. The entertainment bug. And I don’t mean Heimlich from Pixar. I’m saying: I realized that I needed to be an entertainer.
Through the years after, I worked incredibly hard on my talents. I’ve become a Writer, writing many scripts, stories and poems; a Musician, scoring films and writing original songs from my ability to play guitar, percussion, piano, and sing; an Actor, performing in countless films, exuding both a comedic and dramatic range; and an Artist, creating numerous pieces of artwork that have been showcased at art shows, along with animated shorts, comic strips, and cartoons with my own, developed characters. All because of a dang, plastic gorilla.
I have a passion for making people feel. A passion for creating emotions that are triggered through the senses. Whether it be melancholy, bliss, pain, love — I adore helping people escape their everyday lives and get lost in what’s conveyed to their senses.
I am a musician and pursue the sense of hearing through what I sing and strum on the guitar or play on the piano. I am a writer, actor, and artist, and I pursue the sense of sight by how I move on screen, what I draw on canvas, and what I type on paper. By what I do, I seek a connection with people. I truly value empathy and how it connects us on a deeper level. I believe that art provides the most profound sense of that connection.
My mission is to evoke emotions and create a relatable, real sense of humanness. I desire to put raw humanity into art.
I’ll leave you with two things…
Les Dudek, and the definition of Qualia (as per the lovely Oxford Dictionary): “the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena.”