I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, making art and spending nights at a cavernous punk club in Kentucky. I left after receiving my BFA from the University of Cincinnati. Since then, I have called the San Francisco Bay Area home, seeing it change from arts-friendly to tech-driven. I received my MFA from San Francisco Art Institute, where I focused on painting. Since 2019, I have focused on the exploration of printmaking, specifically monotypes. The direct, painterly nature of the medium leads to work getting done quickly, an approach that works well for me.
I am interested in creating evidence of human presence in each image that I make. Humans are represented in bare-bones ways, sometimes just faces and nothing more. Whether through portraits of lone figures or an array of many, I intend to get to the essence of representations of people. In my work, the people remain enigmatic yet still show a range of emotions. As my approach to making art is largely instinctive, my work is filled with imagery and associations directly from my subconscious. I also leave space for the viewer to make their own interpretations.
My approach has been to go to the studio as early as I can, with as little on my mind as possible. Drawing with altered Q-tips, rubber tools, brushes, and rags into ink rolled onto Plexiglas has helped to get me in touch with the process of making images, and I trust that years of exposure to and making of art can lead to a few successful prints on any given day.
What continues to motivate you to create your work?
I think I have feelings inside of me that I can best express through creating images. Also, I haven’t always been as disciplined about making art as I am now, so I figure I should just keep forging ahead while I have this approach. Additionally, I tell myself that with all the time I devoted to art growing up, I owe it to myself to stay productive art-wise.
Who or what influences your practice?
I have an MFA, so I spent a lot of time studying art and making work in the academic context. My experiences in school remain an influence. Also, while growing up I had a voracious appetite for looking at other artists’ work, so although I focus on getting images onto paper quickly, all the artists I have investigated end up being influential. I have also played in bands and listened to lots of music, and writing songs isn’t too far off from making art for me.
How would you describe the mood of your work?
I would say there is an element of mystery, and that the humans portrayed in my work remain enigmatic. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with ghosts and hauntings, and I feel like that interest creeps into the art I make. Also, I have heard people describe my work as “psychological”, and that makes sense in that I deeply value psychology and have read a lot about art and psychoanalysis.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of being an artist?
Staying motivated and hungry to make art. I have this figured out right now, but that hasn’t always been the case. Also, I think artists often fall into a trap of being disorganized, which gets in the way of productivity. I was inspired when I read that the musician Nick Cave’s approach to writing songs involved working in a rented office and keeping office hours. When I go into the studio, I keep this disciplined approach in mind.
Tell us about something from your creative life that you are particularly proud of.
Being able to remain creative while working full-time. After getting my MFA, job prospects were slim, so I returned to school a few years later and completed an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree. I currently work for a company that supports libraries and academia. I’m proud of being able to balance this mostly left-brain work with the right-brain creative side. I often heard the warning that “day jobs” can kill your creativity, but thankfully that has not been the case for me.