I come from a very poor background (by Canadian standards) with little formal education. When I was 10 years old a family friend gave me a few old tubes of oil paint and I painted my first piece of work, a Greek village scene that I copied out of an encyclopedia. I painted it on an old piece of canvas that I stretched over a window frame I found in the alley behind our Montreal home. At the time my Mom was a waitress in a Greek restaurant and she took me to show my painting to the owner. He loved it and he bought it from me for $75. This was 1969 so that was a fortune for me. I decided right there and then that I would become a painter and make my way in the world through my art. Even without a lot of formal education, and no formal art training, I was full of confidence and a hunger to create and learn from my own experiences. Here was a way to make money doing what I liked and what I was the best at!