Can you describe your work for us in 7 words or less
Humorous, gestural, narrative, stormy, crowded, camouflaged, and fluid.
Being an artist can be a challenging profession, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Work first, reflect later, and read more. Starting is what’s paralyzing. I thought ideas preceded art, but it’s an ebb and flow. Sometimes it all comes together in the middle of an unrelated conversation. Stay curious and write about your work often. Apply to everything that is free to apply to. It gives you a deadline to work towards, and afterwards you have an artist statement, a portfolio, a resume, all ready to send to the next art call that’s posted. Try (although it can be hard) to see opportunities, not challenges. I’m still learning these lessons.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Always Sufjan Stevens and Fiona Apple, my friends when I feel down or in my head. But also, my friend and fellow artist Taylor Rudolph put me on to Philly’s own Tierra Whack. And Anderson Paak is a great love of mine. <3
What do you look at for inspiration?
Poetry, scientific phenomena, music, literature, gay stuff. In my conceptual practice I like to reflect on the intersection of personal narratives and cultural relationships to mythology, science, and psychology. In my recent paintings, I position myself within abstracted landscapes that are a little odd, a little funny.
What artists inspire you most?
I work for philly Artblog, (theartblog.org) so I’m constantly reading reviews of local artists. Lately, since I’ve been painting, I’ve learned from Stephen W. Evans and Mark Thomas Gibson, local artists that I discovered while reading/ working for Artblog. My friend Gillian Mead (https://gillianmeadart.com/) taught me most of what I know about painting. I have my list of superstars tucked away, but I care the most about artists living and working in Philly.
Who would be a dream artist to collaborate with?
I collaborate all of the time! More so on projects than pieces. It’s important for me to be surrounded by like-minded, energized people. Philly is the perfect environment for collaboration. But hypothetically, probably Hito Steyerl. I heard her speak earlier this year at Moore. CT Jasper, my generous and huge-hearted former professor, constantly references her work in his classes.
What’s something that you learned early in your career that you feel made you a better artist?
To not worry about making work that is original; it’s nearly impossible. It was liberating to realize that I was allowed to reference, and it ended up grounding my work in the tangible. I started doing research and making commentary. My peers became more receptive to my work, and I became more passionate about it.
Post- graduation: becoming organized and integrating studio time into your schedule. Right out of school, you have all of this theoretical and conceptual training under your belt, but no more deadlines. It feels like every piece you start is the first piece of your career; it feels impossible to finish anything. I’ve been painting during this residency, which is abnormal for me. I studied Sculpture. But it’s gotten me back into the schedule of working regularly! I have momentum!
Why did you apply to become a resident at Jasper Studios? And what did you hope to achieve during the residency program?
I was working in a tiny room in my apartment that’s basically my closet. I would come home from work and stare at my paints, then at my electronic marimba (which is an amazing piece of technology) and then my laptop…. each felt like a career path. Should I be painting? Should I be recording music? Should I be writing poetry? Editing video? Meanwhile, I’m sitting on my bed just exhausted, knowing I needed to do laundry, eat, grocery shop. I needed a space that was just for art. Where I could go and be surrounded by nothing but materials and space. Jasper Studios gave me that. So thank you! Everyone should apply to this residency!