When reflecting on my artistic journey, I recognize how my art is a direct response to my identity in relation to current experience. My immediate environment is a compilation of observations and perceived realities.
My series of black and white ink drawings as well as my surrealist oil paintings of women were a direct response to my own trauma and struggle with the systems oppressing survivors of sexual assault. These creations originated in 2014 and 2015, eight years after Tarana Burke created #metoo, but two years before the hashtag became a popular rallying cry against sexual harassment and sexual assault. This movement constructed a unified reality where survivors’ experiences were validated and their activism was supported. However, during this era of my personal experience, I felt overwhelming shame and pressure to keep my reality hushed.
I grappled with this period of my life during the formulation of my artistic concepts, but I escaped my existence by becoming a verb. I was stretching canvas, applying gesso, sanding, priming, painting, and so on. My work resembled the concoction of my reality bent by my social environment and depression, but it also reflected my artistic progression from a victim to a survivor.
There was a long period where I believed if my art did not continue to address this experience, I would no longer be successful. Creating art felt like a burden, so I turned to the natural world for my solace.
Whenever I need to clear my thoughts or reinvigorate my creative process, I take time to explore nature in solitude. Often, I pack my shelter, food, water, and art supplies and disappear into an unfamiliar, natural environment for several days to be alone in nature. I explore my temporary home. On the hike up to my campsite, I process my concerns, evaluate what is within my control, make decisions, and develop an action plan for when I return to civilization. Once I begin pitching my tent, the weary voice in my head is silenced. What remains are my perceptions, observations, and moments of profound, creative inspiration in tandem with survival instincts.
I began to recognize a new reality experienced around and within me; a world where hope and beauty still exist. My current work resides in a space recognizing the issues of today while illuminating elements to be grateful for. My ecological art searches for beautiful repetition and evidence of thriving life in a world that is so gravely threatened. Through the creation of self portraits, I am forced to ruminate on my identity as a result of my journey and the context I inhabit. All of my work, nonetheless, reflects on environment, the finite nature of my life, and what powerful whimsy constitutes the fabric of existence.