Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m an abstract painter with experience as an illustrator and printmaker. I graduated from Art Center College of Design in summer of 2018 and since then have been participating in a residency in Berlin and culminating with a recent solo exhibition.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I was raised around artists so I was fortunate to be exposed to lots of culture and art from a young age, and I was hooked immediately.
What do you like most about working where you do?
I haven’t stayed in one place for very long. There is something to be said for stability, but I’ve enjoyed the stimulation of moving around and adapting to new situations.
A little over a year ago I was finishing my undergrad at Art Center. I split my studio time between the campus and my little apartment in Pasadena–not to be antisocial, but I preferred working in my own quiet space. After school, I did somewhat of a working holiday throughout south Asia, taking photos and making experiences that led to my next body of work. For the last 8 months I’ve been living and making work in Berlin. The winters are known for their brutality, but it allowed me to work non-stop with very few distractions. Overall it was a great experience, but I think I favor the LA weather 🙂 Moving back in a few months…
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
In my past work I was very focused on exploring style and developing my technique. The content was rooted in my obsession with textures, patterns and colors, then usually dotted with flowers. Now I’m turning my attention to more substantial subject matter and a more conceptual approach. I’m still in the early stages of my next series, but it’s essentially about the loss of innocence… the journey from childhood and youth to “waking up” and trying to process the reality of our world, with emphasis on the environment.
What is your process like?
Once I have a general idea of the story, I move into image-based research. Sometimes collecting original material I’ve shot, other times culling from the internet. The idea shifts and warps in this phase, sometimes becoming something else entirely from what I’d first imagined. I then create composites of those images, add hand-drawn layers and digital elements, and warp and transpose until I’m satisfied.
With the digital composition as my guide, I recreate the image on canvas. I use tape to mask and cut out every line, big or small. I prefer a sharp, sometimes raised line over a hand painted look. However, the taping and cutting process is far from perfect and leaves many organic mistakes which is where the digital comp and the painted version begin to diverge in a really nice way. I’ve also started incorporating a wee bit of airbrush.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Climate change. The steady stream of horrific images, stories and stats can be super depressing and lead to fatalistic feelings, but on the flipside it’s inspiring to see the passion being ignited in an entire (well, almost) generation and offers some glimmer of hope.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
We all know the art world can be shallow, capitalistic and often times completely perplexing. You get into making art for your own reasons- you love the feeling, you love creating, you find other artists that become role models. It all feels pure and beautiful. And then you start learning about “what it takes to make it”. I know that it will be a difficult and sometimes heartbreaking road, but I think there are enough like-minded people that want to contribute to a new narrative and I hope that I’ll find my place in that community. So I guess the strangest thing I’ve had to do is find a way to push forward despite the fact that sometimes it feels like making art is not so important in the grand scheme of things.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I don’t have a mentor. Most people say to keep making work.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Keep making work 🙂
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
Community has been on my mind a lot. I was originally accepted at Art Center in the illustration program, but quickly realized I wanted to pursue painting. I was able to continue the curriculum and adapt it to my work, but it didn’t really allow me to form a community with my fellow students as I was not around any other painters or fine artists. As mentioned previously, since leaving school I’ve been working and participating in a residency in Berlin, but people are in and out and generally, it’s a transient city, so I’m very much looking forward to moving back to LA, planting roots and finding or creating a community.
What is your studio like?
I’ve been lucky to have a nice studio at home here in Berlin. It was my first proper studio experience and a huge step up from painting on the floor in my old apartment. Let’s see what happens in LA…
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I wake up very early, especially when I’m painting. Lots of coffee. True crime podcasts. I watch a lot of Quotidien to stay in the loop about what’s happening in France. Sometimes I listen to a Ted talk to get myself out of a funk.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
I’m in the process of applying to a few MFA programs. I’m on the fence about whether or not it’s the best path for me, but I want to keep all options open, and it does seem like a great way to find a good crew.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I’m not a big social media person and I’m not a big networker. I’m shy, so that whole side of “the biz” can be a little off-putting for me. I wish I could just make work and be judged on the work, but I understand there’s more to it than that and I’m trying to learn and adapt while staying true to myself.
How would you define “success” in art?
I definitely don’t define success by the price tag of the work and I don’t have any interest in fame. It’s very holistic. #1 is being able to actually call it a sustainable career. Then of course community, friends, being a role model to younger artists, making a difference always continuing to learn and grow and experiment with new styles and forms… lofty goals.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
My recent show at Somos Gallery (berlin) felt like a win. I’m still honing in my process and these eight paintings took 10x longer than I had imagined. Really long meticulous hours in the studio and more rolls of masking tape than I care to admit to consuming.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
Not at this time, but hopefully soon.
What are you working on right now?
I’m creating comps for my next series.