A.J. is Native artist, poet and musician. He loves Worcester, painting, his family and friends, and eating the tree sisters (corn, beans, and squash). He is a former Jazz programmer at WCUW- 91.3 FM Worcester’s Community Unity Station and a co- founder of Noh Place Artist cooperative.
Listening to Jazz is one of his favorite ways to pray, and he counts as a blessing and an honor to have witnessed live performances by Jackie Byard, Sun Ra Stephan Grapelli a, Dizzy , Betty Carter, Gill Scott Heron, and Carmen McCray.
Under the influence and accidental tutelage of Michel Duncan Merle, A.J.’s doodles turned to art while a student at Worcester College. His artwork and writing has been featured in various venues and publications including the Worcester Review, Noh Place Artist Coop, The San Francisco Gallery in Northboro Mass, Grove Street Gallery, and Worcester. Artists. Group .His work will be featured at Assumption College’s D'Alzon Arts Series from October 2O to November 20 , 2008 along with the works of his friend and neighbor, photographer David Hayes.
As a poet, AJ has shared the Worcester College stage with such luminaries as Gwendolyn Brooks, Dennis Brutus, and Jonathan Blake. Musical highlights include recordings with the Ghost Shadows, an alternative rock band, and Virtual Equinox, an ambient music ensemble in which he played a mixture of Zuni, Yaqui and Lakota style flute music.
AJ lives on the shores of lake Metacoment in Belchertown, Massachusetts with his wife and children where he continues his life long works with Native American Church. He works as a Community organizer for the Massachusetts Public Health Association
"My mother told a story about a wise man, who said.“ I am from where things go well.” Aesthetically, I am from Worcester. Specifically, I am from Castle Street. It was on that street that I found my voice as an artist, a poet, and a musician.
Folks I met in Wormtown, like Michel Duncan Merle, Esther Heggie, Jean Lozoraitis, Jonathan Blake, Dave Nader, Michael Lukaszeviczs, Alex Ford (may he rest in peace), Sid Buxton, Stephen Campiglio, Susan Lozoraotis, Jay Rouleau, Chris Gilbert, Brian, Chuck, and Chipper Mijka, and Sheri and Brian Jyringi, helped shaped, and continue to inform, how I see color and form, write, play my flutes.
Our time together is a kind of tribute to this city and its culture of possibilities that allowed us to explore and to take chances. I keep memories of the generations; therefore, I know that I belong in the family of world nations (the two legged, the winged ones, the water beings, etc.). They are all my relations. As a member of the human family, I walk in the freedom of native people exemplified by the words of the Chicano poet Alurista:
Scars of history on my face, and the veins of my body that ache,
Vomita sangre y llora libertad.
[It vomits blood and cries liberty]
I do not ask for freedom.
I am freedom!