My creative process starts by asking questions. Is it possible to fully understand another human being? Why or why not?
My formal training is in printmaking and mixed media, but when I was in school I often turned to collage as a form of sketching. The collages of my youth drew from magazine clippings, found paper, and sometimes notes from family if I managed to loosen my attachment to keeping their messages intact. However, the past few years I've taken so many pictures and done so much writing...that I quite literally have a new medium available to me that was not there before.
I tend to think in fragments of images: the reflection of a neon sign in a car window at night, the blurred music screen while I am running, the vegetables chopped and ready for dinner. In my late twenties, collage feels like a way to more accurately communicate how I perceive the world. I have always had an intense need to break through an invisible glass box, and a determination to get so close to someone that we see and feel the same thing for half a second.
Some of the collages I make today are in direct conversation with relief and lithograph prints I produced in college. As a 2019 graduate, I am part of the last class of BFA students to earn their degree before the pandemic permanently ended one paradigm and ushered in another. Is the past able to speak back to the present through my current work?
A majority of the fragmented images you see within these collages have been shown before as full individual images on my social media accounts. I want people to reflect on how their interpretations change between settings. Which is more intimate: an Instagram story, or a compilation of iPhone photos printed at CVS Pharmacy, fragmented and assembled behind glass?
Or are they the same?
MAKE YOUR MARK
BFA Capstone Exhibition, Gardiner Gallery, Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
An essential part of my work involves collaboration between artist and audience, creating opportunities to connect with others through play. I am interested in making art that explores play as both a common ground and a way of lowering audience self-consciousness as I invite them to participate in the creative process.
My project Make Your Mark is comprised of more than one hundred brightly colored abstract and figurative magnets on a black chalkboard. Viewers are encouraged to draw with chalk and rearrange the magnets so that many compositions can be generated. The use of bright colors, magnets, and chalk intentionally recall childhood. But at six feet by six feet, the scale of the magnetic chalkboard transforms a child's play activity into a collaborative community mural. While this process is underway, I continue to interact with the audience by adding my own ideas to the chalkboard as well. Because compositions created on this chalkboard are ephemeral, I also photograph the work at intervals throughout the time it is on display in order to capture the ongoing transitions.
My style has always been very graphic and improvisational, with bold colors and patterns central to each of my prints. Originally, these lithographs were the source of inspiration for my magnets. However, as my work matured, I recognized the opportunity to make relief prints from the documented moments in the ongoing creation of the community art. Together, the framed prints represent both the inspiration for my work and my response to specific moments captured in the ongoing chalkboard project.
It is important to me that people interact with the human forms on my chalkboard, because ultimately this project is about interacting with others and recognizing our shared humanity. By working together on one community mural, people will build on the ideas of others, no matter how different those ideas are from their own. I have chosen to mix figurative shapes with abstract shapes to symbolize the known and the unknown that we carry into every social situation. All of us have groups of people we feel we belong to, and others we do not know much about. The good news is we have endless opportunities to learn. I want my audience to leave the exhibition with a heightened appreciation for our collective responsibility to listen to each other and work together.