Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I was born and raised in North Carolina and currently reside in the Southside of Chicago. I graduated from Guilford College in 2013 with a degree in Photography and two minors in English Literature and Art History. I currently work as an arts and culture writer for local and international based platforms. My creative practice involves organic shapes and structures that exist as portraits and manipulations of the self. Much of my work is sourced from every day materials found while scaling the aisles of Home Depot or walking through my alley. I have always been interested in the vitality of guts, folds, and fissures. When I enter the studio, I want to paint beyond the canvas.
Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
Modern dance has always been a strong force in my life. It is something that I try to incorporate either while producing the physical piece or when envisioning the shape. The polarity between ballet and modern dance is something that inspires my fluidity and structure when creating a piece in the studio. Austrian history, my Catholic upbringing, and literature are among other sources of inspiration.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
This American Life, coffee, and a bucket of paint.
What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?
Renting a studio and affording materials has been my biggest obstacle so far since living in Chicago. I used to go to my studio and simply draw up future plans of what I would create once I had the money to purchase materials. That was a year ago and since then I have learned to appreciate the constraint of working with limitations instead of surrendering to a financial roadblock. I have become more resourceful and a bit cramped due to the items that I pick up and collect for prospective projects.
What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?
Texture, implied motion, and the grotesque.
Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
I admire artists like Eva Hesse, Egon Schiele, Lynda Benglis, Joseph Beuys, Francesca Woodman, and of course, Louise Bourgeois. At a young age I became very interested in Anaïs Nin and as an adult I continue to come back to her allusions and external references to physical movement and immediate experience. Yvonne Rainer and Isadora Duncan are other role models. Recently, the underground avant-garde, post-disco, experimental cellist, Arthur Russell, has been a constant in my life.
What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
At my studio space in Mana Contemporary I always receive solid advice. Several artists have told me to stay in the "experimentation phase" for as long as I can.