I paint with the intent to create understanding and I aim to aid others in their own experiences through my artwork. I use the relationship between the subject and its environment in my paintings to mirror our relationships in life. I use semiotics with color, space, symbols, and objects, and I love playing with pattern, abstractions, surrealism, and basically anything that fits with the project’s theme or emotion. I’ve got a well rounded education to thank for that.
Art has been a huge part of my life for, basically, my entire life. From California, to Connecticut, to Montana where I got my Art degree, it’s basically consumed my life. I owe a huge part of my inspiration to my Grandma Judy who sat with me at her kitchen table and taught me to draw “m” shaped birds and sunglasses on the sun. My Grandma Judy is a completely self taught artist, specializing in oils and watercolors, and venturing into ceramics and photography in her later years. I remember her paintings hung up around the house, and somehow I acquired one that hung in my bedroom throughout high school. Even when our little family spent 8 years in Connecticut, each time we went back to visit our Grandparents, she would sit us down and make things with us. I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and that’s what I became. I developed my skill through high school and graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor's of Fine Art Degree specializing in painting and drawing in December of 2016.
The very next month, on January 1st 2017, I narrowly survived the fatal car crash that took my partners life. I was driving us and two friends home through a snowy mountain pass when I slowly woke up in the Inpatient Stroke Rehab Unit in the hospital. I was groggy, loopy, in pain, and exhausted, with my Dad and my Sister on either side of me. They told me for the 20th time that I had been in a car accident and that my partner didn’t make it. They told me I had skull fractures that were millimeters from my carotid arteries which caused a stroke. It was thirteen days later. Driving home in the snowstorm, my car started to slide on ice into oncoming traffic. I swerved to miss a semi truck but must have lost control of the car and got t-boned by an SUV. My partner took the full force and passed away instantly. I survived with a collapsed lung, pelvic fractures, skull fractures, a missing tooth, and a stroke that affected my motor movements. I spent the rest of five weeks in the hospital learning how to function, and then the rest of the year learning how to walk again.
I still have a lifetime of recovery ahead of me, but I’ve learned some key lessons from my experiences. Some of these lessons are pretty universal, like self worth, and some are more personal to my grief and guilt of losing a loved one accompanied by a drastic physical change to my life. I had to come to the conclusion that my PTSD will not go away or “get better”, and by gaining the ability to function with it, I diminish it’s control over me and I can live my life. I had to learn that the pain of grief does not need to exist in order for my connection to him to exist and be valid. My partner taught me that I was worthy of what I wanted and that if I tried, I could get it. After he passed, I had to learn that his words were still true without him being here to continually reinforce them. I’ve decided, with my therapist’s enthusiastic support, to draw and paint these lessons and emotions, with the intent of possibly helping others with similar feelings.
The idea that images could be used in addition to various therapies to aid in someone’s mental/emotional growth, drove me to pursue art full time and begin this journey into the art world. By piecing together different images, textures, patterns, styles, designs, backgrounds, and subjects, with colors, abstractions, and other emotional triggers, I can create images that mirror life. I create visual depictions of complex concepts to encourage and inspire understanding. The biggest lesson my partner taught me in our short time together was that I am worthy. I am worthy of what I want, and I am worthy of life. Now it’s my turn to teach others.
Support for me is support for others. Thank you!