You have been on a 3-year artistic journey working on your upcoming solo show “Once Upon A Quiet Kingdom” for Corey Helford Gallery. This journey has allowed you to look deeper within yourself, examining a darker side of your personal narrative. Can you please tell me more about your personal discoveries while preparing for this show?
My art is my life, and my life is my art. They run parallel because art is my language. In my personal life, I discovered that I had been burying myself in other people. I was neglecting my own thoughts and feelings, valuing other people’s feelings above my own, and pushing myself to the side. So I’ve been doing something about it. I’ve been turning towards my own self and discovering what’s been neglected for so long. In this new body of work, I allowed myself full freedom of expression. I didn’t have a pre-written theme that I set for myself, I just tuned in to what was there with each painting. I didn’t judge it or try to navigate it or water it down to please an audience, I just let it flow naturally and enjoyed what was. It taught me how to trust myself, trust my own voice, and it inspired new things, which inspired me more and more throughout the process.
In Studio Shot-Credit Jessica Louise
In your show statement you make reference to an inspiring quote by writer Katherine Henson, “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.” Why have Katherine’s words made an impact on you?
That quote hits home for me. I do have a soft heart, and it’s been deeply hurt quite a bit in my life. For years I tried to protect it, I thought I could (and should) change that softness to be better suited for the harsh ways of the world. I’ve really struggled with it. But I had to realize that the people who were able to maintain their vulnerability and share it (even after and in spite of being hurt) were the courageous ones. There’s SO MUCH value in people being vulnerable and the world needs those soft hearts so badly.
Your work encompasses an authentic and relatable emotional realm where your pieces speak of love, loss, pain, and disappointments. Have dark moments in your life inspired your work?
Absolutely! It’s always the hardest moments in life that bring about the greatest measurements of growth and understanding. My work is inspired by those moments. Without them, all the candies and cuteness would be meaningless.
You have created a mesmerizing, surreal world inspired by your child’s mind, recollecting moments from your life growing up as a child in the late 70’s. Do you have vivid memories from your past that lead you to begin a new piece? Can you please tell me more about your creative process?
It’s not so much vivid memories that spark a painting but recalling maybe a feeling or an attitude from back then. Like, I was the youngest of four siblings, but I remember feeling lonely a lot as a kid, and I’ve often drawn from that loneliness in my work. Those childhood feelings were very powerful and universal, and they help me communicate and relate to my viewers. But in my work, I don’t put emphasis on people understanding my story. I want people to understand their own story. I want them to FEEL something and have a moment with that feeling.
You have published two books. Can you please tell me more about what inspired you to delve into the publishing world and create such monographs? Do you have a desire to publish more books in the future?
YES! More books are in the future. I always wanted to write and illustrate children’s books because they played such a large part in my life as a kid. I remember pouring over illustrations, looking at what I liked about them and also studying illustrations that I absolutely hated, wondering what about them made me so angry. I was really judgmental toward what I didn’t think was that good. I had a ton of children’s encyclopedias as well. I just enjoyed and appreciated how I could be taken so far away in my imagination with these books while I was sitting in my room. They were an escape – dreams! There were no limits and I felt I could go anywhere, and maybe I appreciated it so much because I didn’t believe I could do the same in real life.
What’s next on your creative journey? After your solo shows do you typically take time to process your experience?
I’m immediately getting to work on writing and illustrating a book of strange (dark) short stories now that I’m finished painting ‘Once Upon A Quiet Kingdom’. And beyond that, more growing, more vulnerability, more courage and strength to fuel more creativity and art!