This project started as a whisper of an idea influenced by my living and working in downtown OKC for over 5 years. During that time, I grew very close to the diversity of the population. I located there just after the 2008 economic crash and was witness to the opposite ends of the financial spectrum, OccupyWallstreetmovement in OKC, as well asthe welcoming of the Thunder Basketball team, and the resurgence of downtown and Midtown. After taking on the job as Chair of the Art Department at Oklahoma City University and getting married, I moved to Edmond, where my wife attained a position as AP Art Teacher at Edmond Memorial High School. During that time it became apparent that I had sorelymissed the energyanddiversity that downtown had to offer and wanted to return as an artist, educator and witness to the people who live, work and visit Oklahoma City by including them in my newest personal project. As an artist and Illustrator,I am a recorder and visual storyteller of the human experience.I am also an educator who has taught workshops around theUnited States and am currently teaching as Professor of Illustration at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA and just completed a one-year residency at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City while also serving as “Distinguished Visiting Artist and Gallery Director” at Oklahoma City University within thePetreeCollege of Arts and Sciences’ School of Visual Arts for the last 6 years. I had recently stepped down from the responsibilities of “Chair” so that I would have more time to dedicate to the “Will work For” project; because. As a portrait artist, I am a natural observer of people and all of the differences that make us unique. It was this diversity that I wished to portray in my newest personal project. We have all observed themany people who feel that theironlyway to make ends meet is by standing on street corners while holding signs that state that they “Will work for Food”, etc. I was inspired to ask myself,and then later others, what they would work for. What inspires them as individuals to sacrifice their lives, their labor, and their love enough that they will work for it? Sometimes, it is their children, sometimes an idea and sometimes a dream. I wanted to use the public window, and thecentral location of theSkirvinHotel as the base of operations for gathering myinspiration, my research and my audiencefrom the populace around me,while also creating and displaying the work for that very same audience. It was and still is my desire to help bring a visual display of answers to questions that we are all asking, “What gives life purpose?”.I want tocontributeas muchprominenceto each model and each voice as I do to the corporate captains of industry, politicians and noted celebrities whose portraits I am commissioned to paint around the U.S. My process was to set up a place where I could have my models sit, be photographed and sketched while I documented, through Social Media, News and Media Outlets, my models“Reasons to Work”. I set up astudio within the hotel on the street level with my paints, pallets, canvases and easel so that people walking by could observethe creation process. And when I wasn’t there, to see the paintings and sketches displayed as they are finished, as well as some of the selected cardboard signs created as documentation during the process. My working methods are traditional, drawing in charcoal and other mediums as well as painting, mostly in oils. I wanted to display and capture a wide range of people from local celebrities to the average blue-collar laborer who calls Oklahoma City home, or who happens to be visiting Oklahoma City during this process. Since my move to Savannah, I have continued the project with the diverse population of Savannah. At the conclusion of this project I will display the work in a Gallery Settingas anExhibition andplan toinvite as many of the models that helped to make this project possible. I wanted a reason and a chance to bring all of these divergent voices, faces, points of view together into one place so that everyone present will see themselves and their voices as equal and as worthy as another’s. The greatest enjoyment of being an artist is the extreme inner joy of bringing an idea to life that just 5 minutes before did not exist. It’s almost a God-like feeling and responsibility to be able to share these ideas and opportunities with my audience. My passion for creating and sharing these hard-won abilities with my many students is such a rewarding reason for living and continuing. This project has become such a part of my life now and it is my hope to continue on a national scale. I am extremely grateful that this project is getting a greater chance to be seen and shared with your audience. I would love to be able to continue sharing the progress of this project and am always looking for more inspiration and opportunities. So please feel free to pass along stories of people who you think might be interested in being a part of my project.