I graduated in 1968 from Willow Glen High School, where I studied mechanical and architectural drawing. My love of art has been lifelong, and these classes provided the opportunity to improve my skills. After high school, I lived and worked in Hawaii until I was drafted in April of 1969. Luckily, I was stationed at Fort Ord, close to home and family. On my 20th birthday, I received orders to go to Vietnam, which was to be a defining moment in my life, one that still influences my art and perception of the world. While there, I documented life and experiences in words and pictures in a hardcover notebook that I carried with me. Sadly, that notebook got stolen about 10 months into my tour, a heartbreaking loss I still feel today. Fighting overseas with my fellow soldiers, experiencing the stark and immediate juxtaposition of life and death that is war, heightened our appreciation of life. Through our shared experiences, thoughts and dreams, these soldiers became my brothers. This time in my life still influences my art to this day. In the intervening years, while continuing to make my own art, I had the opportunity to help budding young artists develop their skills as an art and photography teacher at Independence High School. Nurturing artistic expression in young people has been an important and fulfilling part of my artistic journey. My art is a reflection of a lifetime of experiences, making it deeply personal, but at the same time, open to interpretation by the viewer. While it’s based on my life, I hope it touches the lives of my audience and resonates with them.
- Mary E. S. Cox
- Lee MacLeod