Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m a child of the world. I’ve lived in a lot of places from Ohio to Colorado to Nepal. I’m currently living in Philadelphia where I’m in my last semester of the MFA program at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Over the last few years I have shifted from painting to primarily working in sculpture. In my work i’m thinking a lot about the ways that we as a culture and individuals relate to and interact with the land or natural spaces. I draw a lot on my own experiences growing up and living in some pretty rural and remote areas and the relationship that I have experienced with natural spaces and the plants, trees and animals that inhabit them. Many of my sculptures act as a kind of monument to a place or embodiment of a place. I also play a lot in my work with the interaction of natural and industrial materials and forms. I use a lot of found and salvaged materials, remnants of industry or the objects that we use and discard as well as wood, stones, plaster, cement, fiber and metals.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I have always been a prolific drawer and an avid maker of things. For a long time I didn’t bring my love of craft (woodworking, ceramics and other building techniques) into my ‘fine art’. As I began to work more and more with sculpture, I was able to bring together many of the skills, and materials that I love with my drawing and creative work which has been really rewarding.
What do you like most about working where you do?
The community of artists that I am developing in Philadelphia has been the best part of working here. I love discussing ideas, sharing instagram posts and artists, showing opportunities with my friends and fellow artists. Philadelphia also has a strong and long standing woodworking scene which is really interesting.
What is your process like?
My practice typically goes in cycles. I will do a lot of drawings that I don’t really understand, and expand on these making variations, looking back at sketches that I’ve passed over in my notebooks. I do a lot of writing during these times too making connections or just listing things that I’m thinking about and interested in. I usually work on 3 or 4 sculptures at a time starting from an idea of a form or a combination of materials. As I work with the pieces they will often change. I will sit and look at them, try them in different orientations and adding elements or new materials into the works. At some point in the process, an idea of the pieces’ final form will emerge and I finish them, often pretty quickly.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I read a great book a month or so ago called Braiding Sweetgrass, which looks at parallels in ecology and Native American philosophies on land and ecosystems. It has helped me put words to a lot of ideas that I have been thinking about with my work.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
Living in the city, I bike everywhere and I am always keeping my eye out for materials for sculpture. I’ve attracted some strange looks biking down the Ben Franklin Parkway with a huge bundle of bike tires or a 9 foot long branch.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I currently work 1 day a week at a custom woodworking and cabinet shop. It’s great for clearing my head as well as paying bills.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
I find community to be hugely important in all areas of life. Having a community of people that I care about keeps me from becoming too self obsessed especially as an artist which involves a lot of self-analyzation. Community is also really helpful in my art practice as a way of generating new ideas and seeing strengths and weaknesses in my work that I might not see on my own.
What is your studio like?
My studio is almost always a mess. It’s a kind of dance between sculptures, cups of old tea, pieces of wood, hanging pieces that I’m playing around with and piles of materials that I’ve brought in. You know those heist movies where they have to do the dance through the room to avoid the lasers that set off the alarm…. think of that.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I have started keeping a book of studio notes. I try to start my day with writing thoughts about the pieces that are in progress or ideas.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I don’t think anyone who didn’t love art could put up with the constant need to apply to things. For me the most challenging and daunting thing is the need to juggle so many different things and constantly be organizing and lining up opportunities for the future.
How would you define “success” in art?
Continuing to make art and share it with other people.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
Chasing the thread of an idea is always the most exciting thing. Even though it can be frustrating I love the feeling of having two many ideas to get out. Right now I’m excited about the direction that my work is taking. I feel like I have found some ideas and ways of working that I am able to really dig into and explore. I’m excited to make some larger scaled works too that will begin to really move into the viewers space.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I have been talking with one friend in particular about working collaboratively and I am really excited about working with her. Her work is great! So far we have looked into a couple of projects but are still waiting for the right project.
What are you working on right now?
I have a couple sculptures going right now where I am thinking a lot about interior and exterior and playing with different textures. I think they will be pretty intriguing when they are finished but it’s hard to predict what they will turn into.