I’d love to know a bit about you! Where are you from originally, and where are you based now?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, and I am currently living in Chicago.
What has your art education been like, whether formally or informally?
In 2016 I received my BFA from SAIC (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and in high school I took a couple summer intensive courses from SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design). My junior year in high school is when I really started honing in on visual media. I was working strictly in photography, both film and digital.
What first interested you in art, especially making it yourself?
I think I am like a lot of other artists and creatives in that I was naturally drawn to the arts; I never really sought out creativity but it was rather an intrinsic part of my being. I’ve always been expressive and creative.
It wasn’t until I got older that I became more interested in 2D media. From 2008 to 2010 I was sent away to several therapeutic boarding schools/residential treatment centers for depression, which was incredibly traumatic and difficult on many different levels, so when I came back to regular societal life in my junior year of high school I was full of energy and ideas that I wanted to bring to fruition.
You work in a variety of mediums, namely collage and photography, but a combination of media as well. Can you tell me a bit about your practice?
Yeah so I would say my foundation is photography, and these days I work only with film. However the past couple years I’ve really been focusing on collage. I source images from the internet, magazines, and my own photos. I also dabble in ceramics, but I haven’t been active in that medium since graduating college though I would like to get back into it. I have also experimented a lot with performance. I’ve taken an indefinite break from performance though because I found it to be incredibly taxing on my psyche. At some point I will revisit and continue some performance pieces on mental health I made several years back. I’m also slowly working on some zines and artists books, stay tuned for that.
Do you consider any portion of your work, or use of a certain media, to be central to your practice?
I’m really focused on collage right now and I plan on bringing more illustration into the mix, but I would say overall “the image” is most central to my practice. 2017 is an era where images are replacing text, we are saturated with advertisements and selfies and memes everyday. We rely heavily on images to validate truth in the news and pop culture, which is quickly becoming more problematic and unreliable through censorship, photoshop, and manipulation. I’m really fascinated with how casual images have become and at the same time how symbolic and monumental. So I think about that a lot, which is why I enjoy collage so much. For me, my photography and collage work are interrelated.
What challenges you or surprises you most about your medium?
I would say a big challenge for me is letting go. I can spend forty-five minutes positioning an image so it aligns perfectly with how I want it, only to scrap it later on. I’ve done some exercises on letting go of control and being more spontaneous or experimental, but that’s so hard for me! Collage has been a way for me express these existential concepts that have paralyzed me in the past, so I just want it to be perfectly in sync with how I’m feeling. People don’t really want to have a cup of coffee and talk about the mysteries of existence and consciousness as much I would like to, so this is my way of screaming it to the world.
What is your process like?
While I will often source imagery from the internet, I am a strictly analog collage artist. I cut and snip everything, no photoshop or computer manipulation. I use painters tape instead of permanent adhesives because I often like to move things around a play for a while before I figure out what is working. I would say college is one of the quicker mediums, so sometimes I can churn out a couple pieces in an afternoon. Other times I will be working on a piece for a couple months, unsure with where to go next. I just let it marinate and eventually the ideas will come back to me.
In terms of research, I’m very influenced by politics, climate change, science, existentialism, and mental health so my “research” really just comes from me reading the news, staying informed, taking care of myself, learning about new scientific developments, and being an active citizen. I also like to read short stories and memoirs about human experiences. I’m starting a book titled “Biocentrism”, which is all about exploring consciousness through science and spirituality.
What is your studio or workspace like?
My workspace is a desk (and often times my bed). I don’t have a legit studio yet, so I just work from home. It’s often frustrating working in such a small space and I feel like I could be much more productive if I could spread everything out and see everything at once. One day, though! I will not be sending you an image because my work space is hardly cute, except for the Lisa Frank folder I keep scraps and materials in.
What is the best advice you’ve received? Any that you’re glad you chose to ignore?
I don’t know if I have one singular best piece of advice, but I’ve been given some organizational and technical suggestions for collage that I am definitely thankful for.
In terms of advice that I’ve ignored, I can’t remember because I ignored it! When I first starting bringing collage work to my photography classes not a lot of people understood what I was doing or what I was talking about, so I guess I’m glad and proud of myself for following what felt right to me and not listening to others who judged my idealism or the issues I wanted to create work about.
What do you need or value most as an artist?
Music has always been very important to my work. Music inspires me, puts me in various moods, and helps me figure out titles for my work!
I value community and feedback from friends and fellow artists as well, something I’ve been lacking since graduating from SAIC.
What do you feel is the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art, either creatively or professionally?
This is funny but I’m thinking of that RuPaul quote, “Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back”. I am often so self-conscious, and I don’t know many collage artists, specifically collage artists who are meditating on concepts that I am, so I am sometimes very unsure and I don’t often go all in, 100%. Going back to “letting go”, It’s something I need to work on. I think that collage is also often seen as low-brow, or too crafty, so I often feel like I have to prove myself.
I’m also not the greatest networker, so forming relationships with people in the business is probably the most challenging aspect for me professionally.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a series of miniatures, exploring color and minimalism. They’re less conceptually direct than previous work but still about existentialism and consciousnesses.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for this opportunity! Young-Space is so rad, I think this is just the beginning, and I’m inspired everyday with all the amazing work being shown on the Instagram and blog. I’m honored to be included.
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