Where are you from and where do you reside?
I’m originally from Marquette, MI and currently reside in Portland, OR.
What’s your favorite part of living in Portland?
There’s a lot I love about Portland. The food, music, and the art community are just a few of the great things! Also, there are dogs everywhere.
Did you go to art school?
I have a BFA in Printmaking and an MFA in Visual Studies. I’ve had many mentors including Emily Ginsburg, Lisa Radon, and Laura Hughes, who have challenged me and greatly affected the work I currently make. It’s been a long process of getting here and am constantly shifting and evolving in reaction to the people and places that surround me.
You have a particularly unique process for creating your artwork. What led you to this process and how did you know it was the right one to pursue?
Each piece I make starts as a digital drawing, sometimes moves into a sketchbook or as an acrylic painting, takes form as a sewn fabric painting, and then might make its way into clay or wood. I’m also always working on more than one piece at a time - this helps me to avoid getting stuck! Because I travel a lot for work, I found that digital drawings are the easiest way for me to keep making while not in my studio. I have a folder on my phone filled with these digital works that I then remake as physical pieces.
When did you begin your current practice?
My current practiced started about a year and a half ago, or my second year of grad school. Grad school was a funny time for me because I felt like everything I made had to carry so much weight. I finally realized that I should be making the things I have fun with and then everything kind of fell into place!
Describe a typical day in the studio for you.
My studio is in my house so it makes it easy to work whenever I’m feeling inspired. I have a pretty sporadic studio schedule. Sometimes I’m working in the evenings after my day job and other times I fill the weekends with studio time. I am driven by instant gratification (I need to work on this!) so I usually try to complete a piece in one or two sittings. Machine sewing allows for a quickness in making canvases and my paint application is generally very playful and spontaneous.
Because I travel a lot for work, I found that digital drawings are the easiest way for me to keep making while not in my studio. I have a folder on my phone filled with these digital works that I then remake as physical pieces.
How important is spontaneity in your art?
Very important! Play and humor is very crucial to my work, so I always allow myself room for mistakes and spontaneity.
Tell us more about how you incorporate humor into your work.
A lot of it comes through in the titling! Most of my works are named after episodes of _Rocko’s Modern Life_, which viewers of a certain age will sometimes pick up on. The titles contribute to the story of each piece, trying to make sense of extremely abstracted and altered referents. There’s also humor that comes through in the process of making each piece, especially when I’m working with clay and wood. There’s almost an inherent silliness to clay, how it always seems to slump over and never wants to cooperate, and how my plywood pieces continue to warp over time.
Is there any artwork on display in your studio?
I currently have work by Tessa Heck who paints bizarre female figures. I love hanging work in my studio that is so different from what I make. It provides another perspective and is a surprising source of inspiration.
What necessities do you require when making your art?
Music is a must! I try to create a new playlist every week. I tend to work with materials that are readily available to me, so sometimes I’m dipping pencils in paint, using my fingers, or squeezing paint directly from the tube! Another requirement for working in the studio is an ample snack supply - ginger candies and nerd ropes keep me going!
Since you work quickly, do you ever find yourself revisiting old works?
I revisit old works all the time! I’ll usually find a shape or color combination that I think really works and I will create multiple versions of it. I love the challenge of taking elements from one piece and changing the orientation or putting a seam right in the middle it. At first, I had trouble allowing myself to do this, wanting to continuously create unique pieces.
What are some themes you find recurring in your pieces, intentional or not?
I’m always referencing the history of painting in some way, with grids appearing in most of my paintings. I’m interested in building a visual vocabulary through my practice that is in reaction to a constant shift in how people are interacting with each other. It’s becoming more and more about phones and computers! I’ve really just begun to get into research about language, so that is definitely something I will be continuing with.
My work is filled with nods to ’90s culture; Windows ‘95 screen savers, episodes of Nickelodeon cartoons, and 8-bit video games are just some of the references.
Where do you find your day-to-day inspiration?
I’ve lately been snapping photos of spots on walls where graffiti has been covered. They’re like unintentional abstract paintings! I’m also fascinated by the interiors of fast food restaurants.
Any in particular?
Portland has this burger chain called Burgerville, and there’s one location in particular that has the most amazing primary-colored abstract tiled floors. I think a big reason why I’m so attracted to fast food chains is because they seem to try to call back to a certain time period. I’ve seen many a '50s themed Burger Kings with die-cut Elvis Presleys covering the walls. My work is filled with nods to '90s culture; Windows ‘95 screen savers, episodes of Nickelodeon cartoons, and 8-bit video games are just some of the references.
How do you choose your materials?
I’ve sewn/worked with fabric for as long as I can remember, so at this point is just feels necessary for me. I also love clay for its malleability and generosity. Scaling shapes up and down is important to my work so I recently started working with large sheets of plywood to create free standing cutouts that relate back to my fabric paintings.
Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am in a punk band called Wett Nurse!