Light Is My Passion!I was born in 1962 and raised in Storm Lake, Iowa. My father, John F. Walton, was a graduate of the Art Institute of Minneapolis and my mother, Mary E. Walton, was a teacher and world traveler. Both of my parents strongly influenced my artistic career. My father taught me at a very young age the value of being able to fabricate with my mind, hands and tools. Growing up as my father's apprentice I was surrounded by a vast amount of equipment for the sign industry, including his neon plant and stained glass operation. I learned design, layout, installation and maintenance of equipment. By the time I graduated from high school I had learned to cast in aluminum "oil/sand," silver "lost wax," and to turn wood, copper, aluminum and mild steel on a lathe. I also learned pug milling, wedging, throwing and custom mixing of my own glazes for ceramics. I also mastered the multi-color silkscreen process.
I have worked professionally in neon since my teens. As a second-generation tube bender I opened my first neon plant in Sarasota in 1987 and started experimenting with my own techniques and research. This included mixing various inert gases such as krypton, xenon, argon, neon, helium and even propane. I also experimented with the shadowing, reflection and pattern making of colored light and studied the effects of light on multiple surfaces ranging from textiles to custom textured stainless steel.
While in the U.S. Navy from 1981 to 1984, I received extensive training in engineering and firefighting. I was fortunate to be able to travel to six of the seven continents during which time I learned compassion and respect for different cultures and ways of life. As a result of my travel while serving my country my life changed forever. I realized how fortunate I was to live in the United States and found an appreciation for the vast amount of resources that are commonly overlooked in our every day lives. I became interested in reviving found objects, usually seen as junk, and giving them new life, to shed new "light" on them in a beautiful way by integrating them in my work. Following my honorable discharge I returned home with a new vision of life and a commitment to further my knowledge of everything.
I am a creator and innovator who use neon with glass and metal. I am also drawn to found objects, turning their dumpster destiny into designs of desire by creating as many beautiful works of art as my mind can imagine - that is my challenge and passion. As an entrepreneur I love to challenge myself, my ability to learn, understand experiment and control new and different mediums with an emphasis on neon light.