Family lore tells me I'm a direct descendent of British poet laureate Baron Alfred Lord Tennyson. Despite the glamorous family history,
much of my early childhood was spent in an obscure, rural Colorado town living with my father, a cowboy and ranch-hand, my stay-at-home mother,
and three older sisters. My artistic proclivities did not begin to fully manifest until I left my nuclear family behind and was adopted by my
cultured and well-educated San Franciscan uncle. It was in this great City that I would flourish as a young man spiritually and emotionally
to become the artist I am today.
I have been sculpting and painting for as long as I can remember. At the age of eight I set the basement on fire teaching myself how to
sculpt with an acetylene torch. I quickly graduated to painting due to a fear of fire. When I was 11, my uncle would take me to Ghirardelli
Square when he went grocery shopping at the CO-OP at Fishermen's Wharf. There I would spend hours each Saturday at an event called a Glue-In.
Kids had access to copious boxes of wood and other materials, along with bottles of glue. I looked forward to this every Saturday!
As a young teenager I started to become integrated into the artists' community of San Francisco. At 15, I began working for Arthur Dettner,
San Francisco's most prominent printer and socialite. This was the result of my having to pay for damage I'd done to his Rolls Royce while
attempting to steal the Spirit of Ecstasy. Arthur became like a second dad to me. I worked with him for over five years at his printing company.
Through Arthur I met and worked for some of the City's most successful artists. From Jerry and Dana Magnin to John Berggruen and Francis Coppola,
I quickly became San Francisco's busiest go-fer. At the same time I was finishing high school and taking a multitude of art classes. This led to
an art scholarship and a jewelry exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, soon followed by a teaching job at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
But I was never convinced that I could solely support myself as an artist, and I desperately needed the connection and structure of a 9-to-5 job because
of my unstructured and chaotic childhood. After struggling with what I was to "become", I decided to give up on the possibility of being an artist,
and to concentrate instead on a business career. Although I was successful, I never truly abandoned my passion and talent for art. I have always been
engaged in my art in one fashion or another. I spent several years teaching myself to sew, for example, which was an extremely nurturing endeavor.
In the last few years I have chosen to fully engage in what is the genesis of my being:
--Perry David Tennyson--