Although I write many statements for each evolving project, this is why I do what I do…
When I was young I identified myself as an artist. As early as elementary school I started to build that persona of what I thought an artist was. I loved art and creating new things. It was an escape from painful life. I clung to that concept of myself, and what I thought an artist was, until my second semester in the art program at Weber State University. I was terrified of what I felt was a cut-throat world that I didn’t understand. It didn’t fit into the mold I had put myself into since childhood. I decided that I wasn’t good enough and that I had been woefully mistaken about who I was. It devastated me. I had no personal identity. For nine years I didn’t touch a sketchbook or paintbrush.
What I didn’t understand about myself was that I needed more than just a title, it was the act of creating that filed me with life. By refusing to create, I was refusing to live. I was on a path of self destruction until I picked up my sketchbook again.
I went back to school in 2013. I was immediately terrified again but I had a new understanding of what I needed and why I was there. I threw out everything I had believed and simply work with no preconceived notions of what my art had to be. More importantly, I accepted that failure would be involved, and that each failure was a lesson and therefore worthwhile. I worked, painted constantly, and threw myself into each assignment. I had finally accepted a truth that I’d denied. I belonged there.
My current work is heavily influenced by the struggles that developed during those nine years and how I’ve processed them. Consequently it is very personal and driven by a deep interaction with the mediums I use. Most of my pieces begin with the same four colors of powdered fabric dye as their base, sprinkled on dry and then sprayed with water. After I have a base I begin to layer. Everything about my work from there on can be summed up as layers. I add a layer, subtract a layer, and add another, then another, then another. Each one represents an intimate relationship of give and take between me and the medium. As it changes I respond and my concept of what it will be evolves. I push it one way and it pushes back until I feel that we’ve aligned and the piece takes its final form.
False intimacy. In the world of social media, everyone, on the other side of the screen, is the same distance away. As we delve into technological resources that connect us with others who are geographically further away, we begin to distance ourselves from those in close proximity by spending more time interacting online than in person. And what we do and say online is filtered, only what we want others to know. We build “relationships” and accept “friends” all based on the fallacy that what we say on a “live” feed is an equal substitute for personal conversation.
These are some of the ideas I’m exploring in my B&W #filteredlayers series. Through the layering of semi-transparent rice paper and glass I’m playing with the lines of intimacy online.
As a companion series, #rememberedpassions is an attempt to rediscover honest relationships from a time before social media. These are deeply intimate reflections of friends I’ve lost contact with and express the indescribable change that happens when two people connect on a spiritual level.
The Fluidity of Boundaries
In my recent work, I immersed myself in the idea of being constantly on display; working in a communal space, filming all of my studio time, and posting live videos while I worked. Through blurring the line between private and public, personal and communal, I’m exploring the fluidity of boundaries. I invited others into my space and into my process through communal pieces. I opened myself up to public failure, public ridicule, and ironically, private attacks.
By tearing my work and reconfiguring it, I’m chosing to impose altered methods of thought onto my experiences and understand them in a new way. I’m unapologetically expanding my canvas to assert my right to occupy space in the world. By masking off areas during my process and revealing them later, I’m exposing bits of myself that I previously viewed as wrong, as mistakes, or as character defects.
The work I’ve chosen to include reflects my vulnerability and corresponding growth. It is fractured yet strong, raw but resolved. And it asks the viewer to expand their understanding of the relationship between the artist and the viewer, the viewer and the image and the circular influence of the viewer, on the image, through the artist’s experience of being the viewed.