I was born in San Francisco and lived in the East Bay through college; then moved to Davis, where I attended UC Davis and received an MFA in 1971. In 1974, I received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for my year-long Dolphin Performance Project at Marineland in Florida. That project involved training two young female dolphins to swim sustained synchronous swimming patterns conceived as “behavioral sculpture.” Betty and Eva, a short documentary film on the project, has been shown on HBO and Nickolodeon.
In 1979, I joined Industrial Light and Magic/Lucasfilm where I worked until 1994 as a chief model maker/animatronic designer, creating special effects for feature films including the last two Star Wars movies and the Indiana Jones trilogy. The last three years were spent inventing toys unrelated to movies at LucasToys, which was a division of LucasFilm that existed from 1990 to 1994.
In 1993, I founded Robot Wars, a new mechanical art-sport which involves radio controlled robots designed and built to compete in live, gladiator-style events. The events pit competitors against each other in a festival of destruction and survival. Robot Wars is a blend of long-standing interests in public art, performance, sculpture and technology.