What got you interested in being an artist? I have always been an artist. It wasn’t a decision but an innate part of my being. I wanted to pursue a career in art. After my daughter was born I decided it was time to commit to doing it and launched my art company, The Artful Experience in 2012.
You went to school for art therapy. Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue it? High school was a tough time for me. My family moved to three different states and I had to adjust, make new friends. It was challenging so I retreated into my art world. It was a way to find my happiness.
Was there a specific “aha moment” that made you realize you wanted to be an art therapist? While in high school I was submitting my work into juried shows. One of the judges asked me my interests. At the time I loved art and psychology. The judge sent me an article about art therapy, which told the story of a little boy with cancer who had an art therapist that had him draw out pac-man eating away at his cancer cells. I thought it was so empowering and knew that I wanted to help people through art.
How long would you say you have been an artist? I have always been an artist. From an early age I was drawn to making art. I won a poster award in elementary school from the fire department, which really had a positive impact on me.
How would you describe your subject matter? I like to paint abstractly and figuratively. Two different forms of expression that sometimes merge.
What themes seem to occur /reoccur in your work? A similar theme found in my work is spirituality. Most of the pieces stem from a symbol that holds meaning. Symbols such as the lotus, meaning enlightenment or a portrait of a girl meditating. Usually, the paintings depict my quest to listen to my soul.
What would you say you enjoy working on the most? I really enjoy working with oils on wood.
What research do you do? I like being in nature, or go online to find real life to inspire the piece.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you? As an art therapist I work with at-risk students in the public school system. The students are at risk of dropping out. I have been doing mural work with them in order to help engage them in school and build school pride. I use positive messages and images to connect with them. In one of the murals I created a young boy holding a key pointing to the earth that has a keyhole. The message next to it, “Education is the key to your success.”
Name something you absolutely love and why. My family, husband and two kids. They are deliciously sweet.
What is the best piece of advice you been given? Take care of yourself first, then take care of others. You will have more to give.
What type of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have? I meditate daily which helps clear my mind and become more present.
Prior to being an art therapist/artist, were there any other jobs you had? Plenty, I worked at a music store, waited tables, marketing for Redbull, taught kindergarten, and wrote a children’s book, “Rad is Smad”.
Of all the pieces you’ve created throughout your lifetime, which would you say is your favorite? I really loved the Three Graces. It was exhibited last year on a billboard during Art Basel in Wynwood. It was a large-scale oil painting of three women. The one in the middle was meditating, trying to make a decision between her mind verses her heart. The two women on the side of her held a brain and the other a heart. I always follow my heart.
Do you have any interesting hobbies? Besides making art…reading, baking, yoga and traveling.
What do you read, listen to, or look at to fuel your work and find inspiration? I love going to art shows and museums. I also enjoy surfing social media.
Can you tell us about your process? I usually start with a message and then think about how I would like to portray it. I then pick symbols, nature, or people and piece them together to create the art. I usually draw it out and then execute.
Do you have a motto? Opening the body, mind and spirit through art.
What 3 things never fail to bring you pleasure? 1. Completing a piece of art...2. Hugs from my kids ...3.a glass of pinot noir
What risks have you taken in your work, and what has been at stake? I have been producing a lot of work lately. Sometimes if I don’t plan out a piece then I may be at risk creating something I don’t like. I do like happy accidents and surprises while creating but I do sacrifice materials if it doesn’t resonate at the end.
Do you have a day job? What is it? What does it mean to you? I work as an art therapist in the school system with students who have emotional issues. I help them feel successful and give them an outlet to express their feelings through art. It is empowering.
Have you had to make sacrifices in order to live your life as an artist? Do you encounter misconceptions about that life or choice? I think I sacrifice my happiness when I am not creating.
What do you think is the function of art in society? Art is to educate, beautify, heal and document time.
Do you feel art/artists have a responsibility to do anything in particular? The artist should be true to their self and by doing so their purpose and voice will surface.
Is there something you are currently working on, or excited about starting that you can tell us about? Yes! I am working on a new series of paintings related to the Three Graces. I am working on a triptych of oil on wood of the Three Mystics. It is based on the concept of spirituality, one’s quest to find balance between the body, mind and spirit.