Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am from Tucson, Arizona, I currently Live in NYC, I am not in School but received my MFA from Tyler School of Art. I attended Michelle Grabner’s Poor Farm Experiment summer school residency program in 2014, and the Soap Factory’s 3×5 residency in 2016. I was the recipient of the Carter Prize for oil painting in 2013, and the Odili Odita Scholarship in 2015-2017, and I’m currently a curator at YUI Gallery in NYC.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
Growing up I played what my mom called the “imagination game.” She would pick up random objects, like a rock, a bendy straw, etc, and we would pass it back and forth and imagine what that object could be other than what it actually was. Growing up we also had a few rugs hanging on the walls, very influenced by Navajo and Hopi textile designs. We had a lot of Kokopellis and hanging wall sculptures of suns, moons, saguaros, little ceramic coyotes howling at the sky. I think also there was an annual Navajo pottery event at my elementary school that really made me aware and appreciate objects and their intricacies and in a lot of cases their specific functions. In retrospect I feel like there was not any one moment but gradually these kinds of experiences over time helped me to develop confidence to explore materials, and it probably wasn’t until high school where I started to really emphasize painting.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Currently my work uses many different materials, lots of collage material. I am exploring the potential of how material can be specifically utilized to conceptually complicate the structure of my work. My practice switches back and forth from collage painting, to cleaner graphic images, but it is all revolving around cartoons and comics. Currently I am working on paper trying to organize my thoughts a little better. Entertaining the idea of making a comic book or at least muster up the courage to make a zine. I have become increasingly ok with the idea of disconnection, and allowing my vocabulary and symbolism through graphic figuration to reflect a more private attitude and mythology.
What is your process like?
I usually start without an image and just enjoy drawing with many different materials however this inevitably builds into frustration the further it goes on. It always tends to be a struggle because what I want from my work is to have an idea, and to lay that out on canvas, or wood , or paper and then by adding and subtracting I hope to transform that somehow into something that is specific to itself. So I then think about ideas and images that I would like to play with, and I will mix them into a painting, a lot of the time destroying them but parts of them get left behind, until the end where the image becomes something I have never seen before, constructed from fractions of many images or ideas I collect or have wanted to deal with at some point or another.
What is your studio like?
It’s usually always messy, I am not very good at keeping it clean, but it’s always organized.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice, which has influenced your practice?
These five Artists and Professors have helped me significantly, and I really respect and appreciate all of them for their time and patience and challenging me and always having constructive advice throughout the past 5 years. They have all motivated me to stay curious and motivated as an artist.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Thinking about art as a product can be the most challenging aspect about being an artist. I think i have always felt the need that piece that I start I have to finish to the end, but I think moving to New York City has pushed me to let go of things, to let a painting or drawing go unfinished is something that is very aligned with my experience of living in NYC. Traffic never stops, people are always everywhere, people living on top of each other, there is maybe a certain anxiety that comes along with that. I think to have something “unfinished,” that goes to the city itself, it belongs to the city, and that can be challenging to deal with when it conflicts with my desire to see something all the way through, and usually overworking a piece.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
April Fools Day!
What are you working on right now?
I am working on a sort anthropomorphic animal character that is swinging on a swing.