After leaving university I set off for Chicago, with a conviction that I wanted to study art. How I would enter a great institution and with what means, was still rather vague. I worked odd jobs and, for the first time in my life, rode trains every day. My point of view changed. From the elevated train windows I was starting to see the world from an oblique angle often looking down — a bird’s-eye view. When the trains went underground I became acutely aware of the difference between blackness and night. When we shot out of the subterranean tunnels, the night sky was luminous.
Over the next 2 years, I created a portfolio of works on paper to submit for graduate school admission. These works started in black and white and evolved into color. I assuaged my homesickness for the Virginian Blue Ridge by intertwining the soft, graceful curves of their hills with the pulsating dots of city lights and the lines of the Midwest plains.