I was born in New York City in 1969. My parents encouraged me to draw and paint from a young age. As a teenager, I painted landscapes in oil, but I felt that I should seek a more practical career.
I went to college at the University of Chicago and got my BA in biology in 1991. After that I did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. I studied visual perception and the primate visual system. I got my Ph.D. in 1995.
During post-doctoral research in Amsterdam, I rediscovered my interest in art and decided to become a painter.