Greg Pettengill was born
Gregory Paul Gerard Brooks in Gross Point, Michigan, on March 6,
1953. He lived with his family in the upper and lower peninsula
of Michigan until his Junior High School years, when his mother was
remarried. She married Dr. Robert B. Pettengill and she and her
children moved to the Albany, New York, area with him.
Greg comes from a large extended family: He
has five sisters and one natural brother, one step sister and three
step brothers, one of whom is deceased. None of his family
members are professional artists, but they are teachers, engineers, and
health care providers such as physical therapists and
psychologists. Greg's Grandfather was a baker and his Grandmother
was a school high school teacher.
His Mother was teaching Political Science at Delta College in Michigan
when she met his Stepfather, a Professor of
Economics who was also teaching there. Dr. Robert B. Pettengill
was a pacifist and had been
blacklisted as a "Communist" by HUAC
in the McCarthy Era, losing
his position at Stanford University in California. He worked for
the Ford Foundation before returning to teaching and retiring from
SUNY, the State University of
New York at Albany. Dr. Pettengill heavily influenced
Greg's development by instilling in him an appreciation for unstructured
learning and life-long self-education.
This has profoundly shaped his World View and
Greg's ethnicity is French Canadian/Huron Indian. His Native
American background has influenced his work beyond his heritage.
One of his ancestors who also influenced Greg's life is Etienne
French European Explorer who lived with the Huron Indians,
and who is credited as being the first European to see the Great Lakes.
Greg's Great Grandmother's maiden name was Cote', and he uses that
name as his "name de plume" and for his Art and Engineering
Since High School, Greg has lived all over the
United States, including Vermont, Arizona, California, and in the
Washington D.C., Metropolitan Area. He
currently lives in Mims, Florida, and
has lived there since early Fall of 2000. He lives with a
beautiful, wonderful, elegant, intelligent and perfect
Abyssinian cat named Iza, who keeps him out of trouble and gives him
plenty of exercise feeding and brushing her.
Greg first decided to become an artist in his mid-teens. In
planning his career, he decided that he did not want to end up "sitting
behind a desk working in some office." He had started working as
a dishwasher at L'Ecole, a local French restaurant when he was fifteen,
decided to go to the Culinary Institute of America. He worked as
a cook for a number of years. Once he realized that in order to
advance in his career in the culinary arts, he would have to become an
Executive Chef, which would mean he would no longer get to cook, he
decided to change careers.
Meanwhile, in 1973, at the age of 21, Greg attended the first Summer
Social Ecology Studies Program at Goddard College, in Plainfield,
Vermont. It was an unusual program at the time, and the
only program that studied Alternative Energies, with which he was
fascinated and is still actively involved. Social Ecology has
since become a fully accredited
field of study, now Goddard College offers degrees all the way up to
Doctorate. Social Ecology is very much like Anthropology, in that
studies how human beings have interacted with their environment in the
past, where as Social Ecology studies how human beings interact with
environment in the present and in the
future. Greg's work today is still heavily influenced by the
things he learned in that Summer Program more than 30 years ago.
Greg next got a job as a apprentice manual machinist
at Bruno Machinery for better pay, better hours, and better benefits,
and did not have to worry about doing what he didn't want to--"sit in
office behind a desk". One of the things
Bruno Machinery did was rebuild machine tools, and the best of those
were CNC (computer numerical control) automatic machine tools. He
became involved in rebuilding these tools, which was his first
introduction to computers.
He kept working as a machinist and went to the California College of
Arts and Crafts because he wanted to become a Metal Sculptor. The
only schools that were offering anything in the metal arts were
colleges like the California College of Arts and Crafts, and the only
available classes in metal arts were in jewelry design.
Greg moved to Colorado where he started working as a machinist in TDC,
a job shop. He was laid off as a machinist there, and was hired
at another large company that made pneumatic rock drills. His
interest in the machining industry began to wain, so he took an
enormous cut in pay to go to work in a Metal Sculpture Foundry, Fedde
He advanced as a machinist and through
self-education became a Manufacturing Engineer.
One of the phases he went through during his career was
being a R&D (Research & Development) Machinist. While
working for Raychem Corp., he took a course in CAD (Computer Aided
Drafting) at a community college in Raleigh, NC and bought
himself a computer so that he could to practice his new skill.
In 1987, the first State-of-the-Art Stereolithography machine was
by 3D Systems. This technology is revolutionizing the
manufacturing industry and providing extremely powerful tools for Fine
Artists and Industrial Designers alike. These seemingly
magical devices produce finished parts directly from 3D CAD drawings.
In March of 2006
Greg met Ms. Terri Markle while attending
the "Professional Face of Art" Workshop taught by Steve
Aimone at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach,
FL. This inspired them to collaborate
in the creation of the PAW
(Professional Artist's Web) Workshops.
Recently he has established The United Artist's
Way. The U.A.W. is
dedicated to the principal
of artists helping
artists. By facilitating them in a holistic manner, from
global efforts to local ones, the U.A.W. seeks to foster and support
artists and creative people everywhere.
He has also spearheaded Alternative Energy
Projects such as the Open
Source Solar Energy Cooking and Canning Project.
The objective of this project is to design and develop practical,
ways for individuals and communities to take advantage of Solar Power
for cooking and preserving their food.
His current Fine Art Projects include, but are
limited to, designing and producing jewelry, 3D drawings, and
The most significant thing Greg has done in the field of
Public Art is
working in collaboration with Raymond Kaskey to build and install Portlandia,
in Portland, Oregon. Portlandia
is based on a figure in Portland's city seal of a woman, dressed in
classical clothes, who welcomes traders into the port of the city. The
sculpture is placed on the a landing on the third floor of the Portland
Building. The sculpture is 36 feet tall. Portlandia is the
largest hammered copper statue in the world since the Statue of
Liberty in New York City, dedicated on October 28, 1886.
Greg Pettengill works in a wide range of media, including, but not
limited to, metal, plastics, wood, paints, and of course, digital or
virtual media. He is a generalist, and has never met a medium he
didn't like. He is interested in trying to develop skills using
various media and believes that the medium is really incidental to
that. In stating this, he is not trying to diminish the
importance of the medium but thinks the skill that the artist develops
in using the medium is more important. Rather than viewing his
work as a traditional artist might, he looks more at the skills and
craftsmanship that can be developed. Yes, he believes, it is all
about the process. The techniques of working in a medium are what
he studies and what interests him. He is much more of a
progressive artist than a traditionalist, and he appreciates the
power of modern tools. Greg says that the stereotype of an artist
wielding only a brush on canvas is not what he is about.
Greg admires the work of M.C. Escher, David
Smith, Cristo, Louis
Comfort Tiffany, and Salvador Dali,
and the associated movements developed by these artists are very
influential in Greg's life and artwork.
Most of Greg Pettengill's work is housed in the homes of family and
friends world wide. A lot of his work also resides in the virtual
In addition to his personal art work and his work as a Free Lance
Artist and Engineer, Greg is a founding member of FREA, the Florida
Renewable Energy Association, and is very accomplished at spelunking. He was a longtime
member of the Mohawk Hudson Grotto in Troy, New York.