a tug in my heart
I dedicated a lot of time and energy to creating art throughout my life. I drew the musicians I loved. I painted the feelings I felt. I preferred pencils, crayons and watercolors, just the basics.
Art both consoled my spirit and offered me confidence in myself. I am eternally grateful to those mentors in my life that encouraged me and repeatedly put pencils, crayons, markers and paintbrushes in my hands, those who put blank paper down in front of me. I thank them for teaching me how valuable art is to our lives.
Eventually, I became more aware of social justice issues and became more socially active in my community. I spent less time with my pencils and paintbrushes and started to prioritize books and protests instead of drawing and painting. I joined anti-war, anti-militarization, environmental justice, labor and other social justice movements in the places I lived. I also dedicated my time to studying communication, social movements and nonviolence.
Able to look back now at both times in my life, I can see the ways that my art once lacked a social awareness and the ways my social activism once lacked creativity.
I felt a tug in my heart to pick the pencils and paintbrushes back up, to make art a priority in my life again.
I now integrate my art into my social activism and integrate what I studied in communication, social justice and nonviolence into art for social change.
themes in my work
In my art, I explore experiences of marginalization and social justice, love in action and definitions of solidarity. I also explore processes of healing, growth and transformation, both personal and communal. Like many, I believe in the power of art to challenge us, transform us, heal us and hold us.
My intention is to focus on those most marginalized parts of ourselves as well as center those people most marginalized in our communities.
I believe that the darkness present within each of us is at the root of the marginalization and injustice in our society. Our personal violence, I have found, is deeply interconnected with the violence we perpetuate in our families, communities and world. Our personal resilience can also inspire greater resilience in our communities.
I also intend to honor the struggles and beautiful resistance of people working for social change in their local communities like Doña Máxima Acuña, an indigenous woman fighting for protection of the lakes and land in the Andes of Peru, and Jannie Ligons and Sharday Hill, two of the women who courageously fought for justice after being sexually assaulted by a police officer in Oklahoma CIty.
I believe that their stories of courage and resistance can inspire us towards action and solidarity in our own lives. I know that their courage inspires me every day.
influences in my work
I also believe it is important to be transparent about aspects of my own life experience that consciously and unconsciously affect my creative process. I am certainly limited in my perspective and am necessarily engaging my own process of continued learning and growth. I am a woman and a white artist that was raised primarily in white communities. I was raised Catholic and like so many others, I have struggled with many of the teachings of the Catholic Church from a young age. I identify as heterosexual and am able-bodied. I am also engaging my own process of healing in my life and value the importance of mental and emotional health.
I am grateful for the friendships I have formed with people whose life experiences are very different from my own. Many of my friends and loved ones who have experienced marginalization in ways that I have not have taught me a great deal about love, suffering, resilience and resistance. My art is also made in honor of them and their courage.
I grew up in the United States and now live in Bolivia, South America. I am bilingual and so is my art. I have been influenced and transformed by the unique experience of spending most of my life in an individualistic, western, capitalist culture and now living for years in a culture that is much more communal and inclusive of indigenous populations. I have learned a great deal from both and seek to reflect that in my work.