Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Started out as a printmaker in college at the College of Charleston in South Carolina then switched over to painting while in my MFA at Pratt in 2012.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
In the first or second grade I had an art teacher that would have us copy Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and Matisse with colored pencil. She did a sort of demo with the class where she had us lay on a table in front of the chalk board and with a piece of chalk taped to the end of a stick we drew on the chalk board. This was meant to mimic how Matisse used a stick with charcoal taped to it to work while he was stuck in bed from an illness by drawing on the wall with it. The first time I felt a powerful impact from painting was when I saw a Georgia O’Keefe for the first time when I was 10 or so. After those experiences did I realize image making was powerful and magnetic and I had to do it.
What do you like most about working where you do?
Every city has its own energy. I like New York’s a lot. It’s chaotic and feels unstable but the constant movement is attractive to me and it feels like wherever you go you’re in a movie or TV show.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Looking and watching is at the core of my work. That’s why I put the image in the very center of the canvas with a margin of color. It’s meant to relate or mimic the experience of watching TV. The images I make are all from my daily life and experience and I want the intimacy of the everyday to feel like it’s being shown as a film or something to watch while also in conversation with traditional themes as still life, portraiture and landscape.
What is your process like?
I take photos of everything-while at the grocery store, walking through the park, watching my boyfriend read, at dinner. Everything starts out as a photo. Then I either make it into a little collage or drawing, I’ll test out some colors and then I start the painting.
What is the last thing you read?
Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous.
What are you passionate about?
Color, drawing, Amy Sedaris’s interviews on David Letterman, watching youtube videos of brain surgery, exercising, trying to stop smoking, anything conducted by Georg Solti, sometimes old baroque music, Azealia Banks, Howard Stern interviews, swimming, “A Blue Towel” by James Schyuler, Airplane!, watching people in the park, watching the olympics, just watching the day go by.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Television, the grocery stores, images in a square, Monet’s water lillies, Cezanne’s apples, Wayne Thiebaud, Howard Hodgkin, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, Alice Neel. I’m trying to make work that has the silliness and impact as the artists stated.
How has your work evolved over the last few years?
I started out making etchings that were black and white and now I’m making work that’s all color and immediate. I think I always am trying to not take it so seriously so some humor or silliness enters the work. I’m less focused on trying to come up with an image as I was before and have prioritized more painting what’s in front of me, what’s real and what excites me.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I wait tables. It’s a drag! but it gives me time to make work and mostly pay the bills. I find that having creative jobs outside of painting takes away from my energy to make my own work.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I talk weekly with my art instructor from college. She always has the best advice and gives it to me straight. No fluff. No avoidance of the truth. Her best words have been , “keep the faith”, “keep working”, “look at the Fayum portraits”.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
I would tell people what I’ve been told, “Keep working” and “keep the faith” are the best ones. I guess I would also just say to look at how perfect everything around us is, why try to come up with an image? It’s already in front of us. Maybe it’s the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction. In art, I’m more interested in non-fiction, I think it can have the most impact.
What do you do when you’re find yourself in a creative rut, or feeling unsure about what direction to go?
Do another one. Go look at what I was looking at. Do another one.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
It’s essential and unfortunately I’ve struggled to find one. It seems like having a community is how to get responses, get your work out there, have your stuff be seen. I’m still working on finding some people!
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I start in the morning and try to put in at least 6 hours. I either put talk radio on or have an interview of whoever playing in the background (youtube). I don’t like listening to music while working but like the noise of a conversation that I don’t have to pay attention to.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
College was very important. I had excellent instructors that I still talk with and they gave me an incredible foundation and understanding of painting and it’s history. MFA was a little hectic and I found it harder to find a community of people. In my opinion I don’t think MFA’s are necessary. What’s necessary is just finding the right people to give you guidance and the time to work.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
There are a lot of artists! It’s hard to have your work seen and stand out amidst the chaos of work being shuffled around. There’s also the expectation of quick, young hot success that I think is damaging. It’s also hard to make something look like how you want it to.
What are you working on right now?
Grocery stores, portraits of my boyfriend, images in a squares, landscapes.