“What made you start painting in that way?” That’s the first thing people ask me when looking at my work. Hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper, all hand cut and glued together to express my long-standing battle with body image. One day, I was flipping through a magazine, looking at all the bodies society perceives as perfect. Thin. Toned. Unscarred. I wanted to use these perfect bodies to create something beautifully “imperfect”. I started cutting the flesh from the pages and collaged a woman, with a body like mine, sitting in a corner surrounded by the headlines of that month's Cosmo magazine: “Look Leaner Naked.” “How To Get Flat Abs In Just One Week.” These false statements intended to make women feel like they weren’t enough. I felt empowered being able to dissect these false idols and create beauty by my own standards. Being able to visually embrace something I spent so many years of my life hating was healing. That’s where this journey began.
I try to translate my deep respect for the female body/psyche and the planet into my work. In a world where so many people are wasteful, I create from what would be cast aside as useless. 90% of my work is made from recycled materials. I aim to give life to things discarded. Stories silenced. Every paper, piece, person, matters.
Q: WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK? / WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM?
A: I am inspired by the nuances of everyday life, love, pain, and growth. I use art as a release. As a way to express emotions when words simply won't suffice. I'm driven by the process of healing. By the journey to resilience. I draw inspiration from the beauty in the breakdown. The power in the new versions of ourselves that come after.
Q: WHAT IS THE ONE ART RELATED ITEM THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT (I.E. CAMERA, PAINT BRUSH, PENCIL, ETC.)?
A: I have all of my collage materials in a series of folders organized by color/shade/texture. Every time I start a new piece, that cluster of folders is the first thing I plop on the table. It is the vision waiting to come to life. The components that carry my initial idea to fruition. So I'd def go with that.
Q: HOW HAVE YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCES SHAPED YOUR WORK?
A: My path through life has been a rocky one. A lot of longing. A lot of searching. A lot of pining. A lot of silent sadness. A jagged journey to a place of acceptance and self-love that I am very much still on. There is a lot of pain in my work, and I leave it on the page to honor the fact that it exists/existed, and as a symbol of my dedication to move through and past it. No matter how different the figure in my work may be, there is a piece of me in it, connecting me to the viewer, saying this is me. This is us.
Q: WHAT INSPIRES THE TITLES OF YOUR WORK, HOW DO YOU NAME THEM?
A: I never name a piece until I am completely done with it. Usually a finished piece strikes me in such a way that the name manifests instantly as the last piece is placed. Sometimes it's a name. Sometimes it's a phrase. It's always a sentiment.