Note: This is not your typical Bio where I just sit here and write about my accomplishments and toot my own horn. This is the section where I tell you who I am and who made me who I am. This is dedicated to those special people. If you want a brief version, here it goes: I'm Luke Welch and I create art. 'Nuff said. If you want the nitty gritty, you'll need to suffer through the rambling below.
In the beginning...
...there was General Hospital. Yea, that's right. The soap opera. Hey, you wanted to know about me,
well here's where we start. My mother must have been a huge fan of the show when I was on my way
into this world. For you older readers, you might remember a storyline about Luke and Laura on the
show. See, my full name is Luke Anthony Welch. Well, you guessed it! I'm named after good ol' Luke
Spencer. But oh no, that's just not enough for my mother. Anyone know the actor's real name that
played Luke on the show? I'll tell you. It's Anthony Geary. Yep, not only am I named after this guy
once, but TWICE! How awesome could this guy have been? C'mon! Just look at him! Can you
imagine the disappointment I had as a child when I found out I WASN'T named after Luke
Skywalker!? Anyway, let's just move on.
I am the youngest of three sons...by a country mile! My brother, Jeff, is 14 years older, and my oldest brother, Marvin, is 18 years older. I prefer the term "happy accident" to "mistake". But honestly, growing up with older brothers was pretty awesome. As a young
impressionable child, my brothers were into heavy metal, comic books, and horror/sci-fi movies. What else do you need? Of course, I grew up loving the same things. Comic books enticed me to try drawing for myself. I picked up art at a very young age. Here are a couple pictures from my baby book as evidence. If you're feeling froggy, you can click on the images and read about me throwing stuff
and hiding from my mom! I love how she words it, "as he does", like it's commonplace. Classic.
So I continued drawing (and throwing things) through most of my childhood. When I was 8 years old, things got real. My dad had a crippling stroke that paralyzed him on his right side. As a child, you feel like your parents are invincible and nothing can stop them. After his stroke, the reality of sickness and death became clear. I can honestly say it was the most significant event to happen in my life. I owe everything to my dad for what I learned from him during this time. It has shaped my whole outlook on life. I won't get all philosphical on you, but when you learn humility and the struggle of life at such a young age, it changes your
mindset. My dad felt a kind of guilt for not being able to provide for his
family the way he wished he could. He would often talk about the things
he wished he'd done, or could still do. This is not to say he never had a
happy life. My brothers can tell you story, after hilarious story, of how he
was when he was younger. I envy them for being able to see him this way.
It's almost like I grew up with a different father. I had my share of great
times with him, though. He was always cracking jokes and playing around. He tried to make light of
everything he could. The best thing I can say about my dad is that he always trusted in me and
encouraged me to do what made me happy. Most weekends, we would drop my mom off at some
department store to shop, then he'd take me over to the comic shop and buy me comics. When I was
into playing music, he'd pop in sometimes to hear me play and on (rare) occasion he said it actually
sounded good. No words have ever meant more to me than hearing him say he was proud of me. My
father, Thomas Cleveland Welch, passed away July 6th, 2013. I miss him very much. It's still hard for me to even talk about him. I'll never get over it.
Let's take a step back. Like I said earlier, I have two older brothers, Marvin and Jeff. When I step back and look at my life and my interests, 95% comes from their influence in some way. Marvin had moved out when I was very young. Understandably, since he was old enough to be my dad! So that left Jeff with the pleasure of growing up in my company. I can remember getting up early in the mornings and running into his room to wake him up. If he was persistent, I'd have to
jump on him a few times. Jeff was always blasting music as loud as it would go,
whether he was in his room, in his car, or in the bathroom. Man, you'd think he was
dead in that bathroom. He'd be in there for hours! Music blasting the whole time.
Slayer most likely. He was also big into weight-lifting. He played football in school
and held some weightlifting records that got his picture in the paper. In elementary
school, I would brag to my friends about how strong my brother was. We'd sit and
watch bodybuilder Lee Haney's workout show on tv all the time. Of course, we'd all
watch tons of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Especially Conan the Barbarian, the
greatest movie of all time! I have posters of Arnold up in my basement to this day.
Jeff has two children, Dorian and Zarriana. Dorian seems to be following in his dad's
footsteps and is playing football. Zarriana is really into drawing at the moment. I
hope she sticks with it and doesn't turn her back on it like I did for a while. When I
got into middle school, I pretty much gave up on drawing and started worrying about
things a typical pre-teen/teenager worries about. Basically a bunch of crap that doesn't matter.
When Jeff moved out, I started to see more of my brother Marvin. I had a hard time adjusting to middle school life at times. Marvin probably doesn't realize it, but he really helped me through a lot of it. I can still remember some of the things he told me back then. Since my dad was a bit older than your typical dad, it really helped to have someone closer to my age to talk to. I had begun to drift away from the friends I had in elementary school and mainly just kept to myself. Marvin would stop by the house every day when he got off work and we'd either play basketball or sports games on Playstation. We did this every day for years. I've got to give him credit, I don't see how someone can get their butt kicked at 'HORSE' every day and keep coming back for more! When I got a little older, I would stay all night at his house every Saturday night. I don't even know how long this went one. I'm amazed he would put up with me invading his space. I sure as hell wouldn't have! I was already big into music, but I couldn't play an instrument if my life depended on it. Unless you want to count the wood block or the triangle. Yea, just ask Marvin about that if you ever see him. He loves to make fun of me for that. Anyway, he let me borrow a guitar and amp, and showed me a few power chords to get started. I got hooked and began playing every day. Eventually I even recorded my own album. It was a big hit in Japan. No, not really. On my 15th birthday, Marvin's son ,Sean, was born. My mom would babysit for him for a few years. It was a lot of fun having a kid in the house actually. Sean just graduated high school this summer and is planning on attending college. I wish him luck. I never went to college. Honestly, I never considered it. One reason was because of money. It was hard for me to imagine any way I'd afford it. My parents had no money, so I couldn't even consider asking them to help me. The main reason I didn't go is that I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. At this time in my life, art was nowhere to be found. I just let life lead the way. And so it did...
Most of my friends from high school were heading into the military in the summer.
The Marines to be exact. They tried to talk me into going, but there was no chance of
that. In hindsight, I think I would have enjoyed the experience, but at the time, I just
wasn't ready. So we were all going to go out and have one last ride before everyone
shipped out. Well, a few days before, we had all been out together and I met this
girl, Jaime. Her brother, Josh, was getting ready to head off to the Marines with
everybody. I was interested in this girl, but in a few short days, my connection to her
would be gone for a good 4 years. That just wasn't
going to work. So I was forced to break Guy Code
101: "Bro's before hoe's". I had no real intention of
going out with the guys that night. When we met
up at Josh's house to head out, I stayed back and hung out all night with Jaime. This began a long, happy relationship. There was a time I thought it was over, though. It only lasted about 30 seconds. See the pictue of us kissing? There's a funny story about that picture. Jaime had just went on vacation with some friends and like most people, she took a lot of pictures while she was there. One day I was over at her mom's house waiting for her to get off work, so I just started looking through her vacation pictures. After flipping through picture afer picture of the ocean and the girls partying, I come to this picture. I immediately thought, "Who the hell is this guy? Are you kidding me? She's kissing some other dude!" I was completely freaking out. It took me a minute to cool down and realize it was me. Apparently there were only a couple pictures on the camera that weren't from vacation, and this happened to be one of them. Woo, false alarm. So after dating for 5 years, Jaime and I were married on July 23rd, 2005. Yes, dear, I remember! I'm lucky enough to have found a girl who can put up with all of my weird shit. Honestly, the only thing I can remember ever fighting over in all these years was getting a dog. I loved dogs, but I loved outside dogs. She wanted a dog in the house. What? In my nice clean house? So eventually I compromised...and got two dogs. Yep. I lost big time. But really, it was a win in the end. I don't know how I ever lived without dogs before. We have two Italian Greyhounds, Vito and Bella. They're like my children.
So once I settled into married life, I re-developed some of my old interests from childhood. Mainly comic books and art. While at a visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum, Jaime noticed this small Greek sculpture of a horse. She said I should make her one like it. Hmmm, I had never considered sculpting before. It looked like it would be so easy to do, so I did a quick sketch of it so I'd have it for reference. That's probably been years now and I still haven't sculpted the damn thing. But the idea of it started a wildfire. Sticking with my comic book influences, I began collecting comic statues from companies like Bowen Designs and Sideshow Collectibles. There was a point where I thought, "I could have sculpted that", so I decided to try it. The rest is history. I'm now getting more into portraiture and other "traditional" types of sculpting. I love trying new techniques. I collect as many art books and instructional books as I can. I'm always trying to improve my skills and learn as much as possible. Going forward I hope to get more involved in my local art community and keep trying to push myself further.
Well, that's it folks. Bye!
Wait, wait, wait, I can't leave without telling you about one more special person in my
life. My mother, Marion Faye Welch. She goes by Faye. Man, she's really had to put up
with a lot over the years. She had three boys who got into every kind of mess you could
possibly think of; jumping out of windows, wrecking dirt bikes, throwing potatoes at
people, nearly choking to death on cheese, getting a leaf stuck up their nose, locking
themselves in the bathroom, putting frogs in the bath tub, and almost bleeding to death
after falling on broken glass. to name a few. I won't tell you which of us did what. After
all that, dad had a stroke and needed someone strong to take care of him like a nurse.
This was especially hard for her at the end of his life. Money couldn't buy better care
than what dad received from my mother over the years. He may not have told her to her
face that many times over the years, but he did tell me multiple times that he didn't
know what he'd do without her. I would try to get her out of the house every now and
then to go shopping, just to give her a little break. She loves shopping. She rarely buys
anything, but she shops plenty! I can remember one time I took her and Jaime out
shopping and we ended up in some women's store, of course. Mom holds up these huge
panties and yells across the store to Jaime and says, " Do you think these are too big?".
Wow. I don't think it's possible for me to get embarrassed after that. That one beats all. Now that dad has passed away, she's been able to get out more on her own. She's like a totally different person now. It was hard to swallow at first, but I'm glad she's free to do whatever she wants now and she seems happier than ever.
Well that just about does it. If you've made it this far, I applaud you...but you need to get a life. Thanks to all the people mentioned above. They're the ones who've impacted my life and made me the person i am today.
I still wish I'd been named after Luke Skywalker.