Who I am

I am an artist based in San Francisco. For over two decades I have been creating artworks in a broad range of media that all share a common goal: to inspire viewers to bring their own internal narratives to light.

I received my BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University magna cum laude and studied on scholarship at Loughborough College of Art and Design in England. I have been working as a professional artist ever since, with past exhibition venues including the Luggage Store Gallery, STUDIO Gallery, Root Division, the Red Poppy Art House, Pro Arts Gallery, the Richmond Art Center, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center, and the Oakland Museum of California’s CirCA Now series, as well as Field Projects Gallery in New York and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.

My paintings and prints are carried by the SFMOMA Artists Gallery and are in private collections across the United States and in Europe and Asia. I have also created numerous public art projects and interactive murals that have involved hundreds of participants from around the world in more than 15 languages.

I always find myself wishing I could read more about other artists’ formative years, instead of just their professional credentials, so in case you have the same interest, here are a few parts of my own story.

Hello!

Reportedly this was my first word, said to the whole family.

I was born in Washington, D.C., to a relatively large family, with four older sisters.

I did this drawing of myself with our two cats when I was 4. It's the earliest self-portrait I have. I was very proud that I had thought to include the little face I had drawn on my thumb. You may not be able to make it out at this scale, but it's on the red finger to the right.

Are we there yet?

Unfortunately around this same time my parents split, and after the divorce, I would often make a drawing for my father while I was at my mother's house, or vice versa.

Here's one I did for my mom, also when I was 4. I still remember the feeling of being small, sitting at my dad's seemingly huge desk, working on this big blotter graph paper. (I also remember that I always wanted to use his felt-tip pens, especially the new ones with that beautiful sharp line quality, but I was young enough that even though I really tried, I would always mush the tip by accident, which made my dad pretty angry when he went to use them himself.)

That's my ride

When I was 7, my dad took me to see the Black Stallion in the theater and I got horse fever. I became determined that I was going to be a jockey (pretty hilarious considering my eventual height), and I got very focused on drawing the horse I wished I could have. Here's one I drew when I was 12.

I didn't actually want a horse, even though I read about them and drew them and studied tack and proper grooming and memorized Seabiscuit's lineage and even saved up money for a long time to go to horse camp for two weeks one glorious summer when I was 11.

The truth is, the horse represented something: a connection with the invisible, with something greater than yourself. And really, even after all these years, in many ways I'm still trying to create that "horse."

Whatever

Unfortunately, even with my parents' best efforts, some parts of my childhood were not great, and even more unfortunately, some were not great in ways that were hard to tell anyone about or even understand myself.

Like a lot of kids in this situation, as I headed into high school, those issues became apparent as I veered from being an award-winning honors student to winning awards for most likely to be absent. Or other "antisocial" things. It would be a very long story to explain the whole mess, but the simple truth is that because I couldn't figure out how to fix things, I really just didn't want to care about them anymore, and I tried my best in numerous ways to turn it all off.

Now you see me

While I was working hard at being absent (on many levels), I was also lucky to be in an exceptional public school system, and when I did show up, I did well enough to be recommended for special arts programs: a lithography class at the Smithsonian, a figure drawing class at the Maryland College of Art and Design.

Here is a drawing I did for the lithography class when I was 16. I remember being flattered that the teacher was surprised it wasn't from a photograph. But I am embarrassed to admit that for this class, as for the one at MCAD (and typical of me at the time), I attended at first, worked hard, and then never showed up for the last few sessions.

Whoops

I know this all sounds like it was clear that I would be an artist, but I want to clarify that really, to me, it wasn't at all. I was interested in many different things. And to say I was not career-oriented at the time would be a serious understatement.

But then, in my senior year, I ran into a friend who had graduated the year before. She told me you could apply to the arts program at Virginia Commonwealth University by setting up an in-person interview, bring a portfolio and your SATs, and they'd tell you if you got in right then and there.

Up to that point, I hadn't applied to any colleges and really couldn't imagine doing so, but this was a process that I could do. I decided to do it like rolling the dice and see what would happen.

So I made my interview, and of course I procrastinated and did the entire portfolio the night before. Here are some of the pieces I did. I went in with no sleep, showed my work, answered a few questions and...I got in.

I was going to college.

Thanks for reading so far! This page is still under construction, and the story will continue soon…