What is your background?
I'm a self-taught artist and writer. Art and creative writing were always my first love, but I was encouraged to pursue politics, and didn't yet feel confident pursuing the career in arts that I truly wanted. I earned a degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Public Policy. After several internships in state government, I decided I wanted to make change I could see in the field I cared most about: education. So, I moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi to teach middle school Visual Art. I learned that it is so important for kids to be able to express themselves, especially in that critical stage of middle school, and that so many young voices, especially the voices of marginalized communities, aren't heard in our society. Later, I moved to Tel Aviv, Israel for three years. During that time, I illustrated and self published a children's book, as well as wrote short literary fiction with a few pieces published in small print and online magazines. Recently, I moved back to the Atlanta area with my husband and daughter. I take care of my young daughter during the day, and work every night as long as I can while she's asleep.
What does your work aim to say?
I want to create distinct moments in time for the viewer, but more than that, I want to show my personal inner world-the world of one singular woman-because it would be impossible to speak for all women, and I don't have any right to speak for anyone but myself. I feel strongly that more diverse stories, need to be, and should be included and adopted into all of the arts. Each and every person is so complex, individual, and exciting with such varied experiences. Not enough stories have been told, can be told.
As a stay-at-home caretaker, often my role is seen as small, categorized and stereotyped as nothing more than diapers and baby talk, tantrums and play dates, as 'less-than.' So, I often use small pieces of paper to communicate this inner world to show the small canvas I'm perceived to have, and yet in these small spaces, I hope to show that there is more. There are moments and instances within domesticity that are important, yes sometimes banal, but also that are magical, or that can be devastating.
In addition I want to break every boundary I can. Right now I'm on a mission to break free of the 'box.' to cut and collage my paintings until the very idea of a box begins to leave, just as I hope the conventions I've grown up with begin to fade as well. I want to continue this work. I want to have the freedom to dive more deeply into these themes, and techniques, to create new methods, to say so much more. Because there is so much more-and that's the truth.
What are the obstacles that female artists still encounter today in regard to their art, or the fact it's made by woman?
I can't speak for all women, only myself. The experience of every woman is unique, complex, and subject to her own life experiences. I'm relatively privileged as a cis, white woman, and thus have had to face fewer challenges than other women may face. Yet, I think one of the challenges I've experienced is that often I feel my art or writing has to be filtered through the lens of being a woman. My art or my writing can't just be art, or it isn't seen as translatable to the human experience as a whole. We're still needing to be championed and explained as artists, whereas the art or writing of a man, especially that of a white man, is still seen as sort of the standard and norm. There are so many stories that need to be heard, and seen/understood as translatable to the human experience. Until barriers to entry are taken down, and until the diverse experiences of all people are fully represented in the arts, we won't truly understand the fullness of our world and each other.
Dunwoody - Georgia - USA