What is your background?
I have been working since I was 9, when my Grandmother said I was tall enough to reach the counter at her Custard Stand. Painting abstract mixed media pieces has been a passion of mine since 1991. After college I stopped creating art and I did not find inspiration again until 2014. While locked in a corporate job, that I had an aptitude for but did not love, a family friend introduced me to a painting technique that once again ignited my passion for art. The ideas just started pouring out, at 34 I changed everything I was doing; I began managing a Tattoo and Art Gallery & I quickly began learning everything I could again about love, life, and art. In rediscovering my love for the world of art I found that I became calmer and more intuitive, and closer to my main goal of fully embracing my intuition via Inn Saei. In November 2016, I began Artistry Approach to inspire others to use their imaginations to their fullest potential too.
My advice to anyone seeking a career in art is to save your money on art school & think outside the box. You can attend workshops & surround yourself with like-minded people who will inspire & challenge you to do your best outside of a standard curriculum. I applaud anyone with the time & means to attend art school, however I have opened Artistry Approach to assist people like me with the passion & motivation to learn but not the money or months to spend in a traditional classroom. Reaching your maximum potential, I am learning, does not always include the most conventional avenues.
What does your work aim to say?
I believe as visionary artists we have an ongoing responsibility to tell the truth. We're living in a world where a lot of people are seeing things that they can't explain, feeling things that they can't identify or describe with our limited verbal frequencies. Visionary artwork helps those people not feel so alone in this world. It gives validation to a lot of experiences we can't explain in this physical realm. Artwork transcends time, age, language, education, faith, & serves mainly as sign posts for those lost souls, a religion unto itself.
My Scientific Saints Series is a execution of everything I've learned up to this point. They incorporate everything that I'm passionate about; my example of truth, knowledge, science, art, imagination and visions for the future of our planet and society through experimental Magic Realism. This combination of photographic accuracy & paradox seems to speak to people on an entirely different level than traditional visionary artwork. Though the term Visionary Art is a fairly recent term it has always bee , to some degree, tethered to the aide of psychedelics, whereas Magic Realism lends itself to a larger audience that may not be able to relate to that kind of imagery in the traditional style. This gives the observer a gentle introduction into the visionary art world, planting the seeds for further expansion and exploration.
Our minds, like art, like our Universe, are always expanding and it is our responsibility as visionary artists to tell the truth when others are unable or lack the will.
How does your work comment on current social and political influences?
My focus is to make people think about social warfare and the toll it takes in our daily lives. I paint so many things from grilled cheese to drowning women surrounded in a sea of obstruction. I love life and art but there are dark forces afoot and you can see that in my “passion” pieces from my personal collection. Our lack of comprehension and acceptance of genius is a sin. The restrictions put upon Nikola Tesla’s research alone has set us back, according to Stephen Hawking, at least 100 years.
When I was a teenager, there was a point in my life where I was actively and anxiously planning my death. I have always been bullied, a theme which surprisingly has continued throughout my adult years. I have never known why, how or the exact cause but I have always attracted the most dubious cruel characters finding friends few and far between. After months of nail-biting decisions & preparation I was ready, that day I was gifted a CD by Tool from a friend; in listening to that album, alone, chain smoking down by the railroad tracks in Natrona, I found a kindred spirit...someone who felt the same. In that moment I could see the purpose of pain and how it could be turned into something beautiful and actually benefit others. Looking back twenty years, I know that it saved my life and all I can do is pray that my artwork will produce the same results.
What are the obstacles that female artists still encounter today in regard to their art, or the fact it's made by woman?
In many languages the word “crisis” shares the same meaning as “opportunity.” I try to be grateful for every challenge and see the lesson contained therein through meditation and drive.
Money was the first obstacle. I have seen first hand on numerous occasions male artists get paid at events and the women get nothing. Most recently and possibly the most ridiculous was a festival I was curating that refused to pay me after weeks of work claiming there wasn’t even money for the gallery rental tent so naturally I stepped away from the project. Not even one day later my roommate received an email explaining his meal plan, extra tickets, free vending space and $300 stipend for travel expenses. A true slap in the face since I was the one who negotiated his contract! As one of the few gentleman left on the planet he declined the invitation based on principle. This happens CONSTANTLY to every single female artist I speak with. I curated a festival that spent $30,000 getting two artists out to Maine from Australia the year before to work on a two story tall mural...yet my check for $300 bounced and I haven’t heard from the now bankrupt owner ever since.
After traveling to so many festivals, spending weeks at a time on the road I can see clearly that it is a sociological issue. For every professional female artist that refuses to do an unpaid show there are a hundred more lined up to do it for free because it’s a hobby or they just want to get free tickets or worse they rely on this as their only form of advertising and they can’t refuse even if its unpaid. Don’t get me wrong, there are festivals that don’t pay anyone but I much prefer the honesty in that then the imbalance that paying some and not all causes. Ultimately, it affects the artwork as this is becoming common knowledge in our close knit circle of artists that travel. It’s a little bit like Mad Men out there, I’m sad to report.
Meanwhile, in my travels I have discovered that this only happens in the United States, every festival abroad has paid their painters like they pay their bands.
Those few female artists that are popular in LA & NY are all inspiring and the only ones really that are in a prime position to pass their knowledge along. They have either abandoned the festival scene completely or are only doing ones that pay well and treat everyone equally. This must be the new goal now, not compromising integrity and professionalism. That’s where I draw my strength from, female artists that are living examples of the Divine. There are very few Master Painters in the world, and only a handful are female, there to pass the knowledge along. Amanda Sage studied under Earnest Fuchs as did my new teacher Wolfgang Widmoser. I’m blessed to be positively positioned now to fulfill a greater goal of learning and eventually passing that knowledge down to my own pupils.
What advantages are there for being a woman in the art world?
From an artistic standpoint: we have always and will always have the advantage of Divine blessings of creation...we make people. Even if you have never had a child you have the ability as a woman, the birthright to birth new creations into the world that interact and change it. Our influence is great casting a wide net every time we mold an idea into being.
From a working perspective: I find that my artwork gets the attention of my intended audience. Hard work and focus on personal growth always pays off.
How do you feel/want to be/are perceived in the art scene?
I just want my artwork to inspire others to live a better today, paling in comparison to yesterday. Sharing my artistic journey, helping others, & not suffering fools, I have come to realize, has been the most fulfilled I have felt in this lifetime. Currently, I’m not exactly sure how I am perceived, but I hope people can feel that my intentions are true and my canvases never lie.
Pittsburgh - Pennsylvania - USA