Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m a painter, currently based in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. I have an MFA in painting and was teaching painting at Middlebury College in Vermont before I decided to quit academia and open an artist-in-residence program in New Orleans. Scariest and best decision of my life.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I was a reader before a maker. I devoured books as a kid! I probably wanted to be a writer for much longer than I wanted to be an artist. I guess I realized at some point that just because you’re an enthusiastic reader doesn’t make you a good writer 😉
Making things was always in my life, but it probably wasn’t until college, when I first had access to contemporary artists, that I realized this was for ME.
What do you like most about working where you do?
My studio is in the storefront of a small house I bought in New Orleans about 5 years ago. I used to worry about working where I sleep- because if you let some demons live in your studio (which I do) then you fear they may escape and live in your home with you. It’s been a good experiment with balance.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Very rarely do I plan out themes. It’s much more likely that I will make a body of work, look back on it later, think wow so THAT’S what I was going through.
What is your process like?
I create small sculptures or environments from found objects or items from around my home. I arrange them in a way I feel tells a story or emotes a particular idea/feeling. That’s the beginning of most of my work. Then I let the painting destroy it if I need to.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I also work at Mardi Gras World, where the majority of floats are made for the parades in New Orleans.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
So many! I find role models on the regular.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
Before a new body of work, I create a ‘uniform’ that I will wear every day in the studio. Putting on that uniform transports me to the headspace I need for those paintings. After that work is complete, the uniform has no power anymore.
How would you define “success” in art?
Seeing and identifying yourself as an artist, even if you haven’t made work in years. Continuing to make work no matter the market. Being curious about art until the end.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I was a part of the Front gallery here in New Orleans for 7 years. I left this winter, but it remains one of my favorite art communities.