My art, much like my life, is a collection of strange and beautiful things I’ve both meticulously curated and also surprisingly stumbled across.
I am a painter and a poet, a mixed media artist who sees no distinction between colors and words.
By combining bold, bright colors with clippings, bits and glitter, I see my art as blurring the line between dream and reality. Not quite here and not quite there. Every piece is an unplanned surprise; I let the colors and textures and trinkets speak to me. My pieces contain obvious themes: goofiness, radical joy, with a touch of rebellion. But if you look closer, you can see much deeper themes: struggles with mental health, religious trauma, queerness, and curiosity. What is art if not a way to understand and express ourselves and the world around us?
Curiosity is the foundation of my life and my art. I grew up in rural Kane County in a harshly religious home, so deep in the closet, I had no idea I was in one at all. Not quite here, not quite there. In hopes of “making something of myself” and leaving the home that never quite felt like home, I applied and was accepted to DePaul University.
It took me all of two years and countless anxiety attacks to realize that I hated and also could not afford the school that was supposed to be my ticket to freedom and success, so I dropped out.
My identity as a writer was cemented in childhood, when the adults in my life praised me for my writing. I have and continue to use writing as a way to recognize and process my emotions. It wasn’t until I experienced an intense bout of writer’s block in my early twenties that I decided to pick up a paintbrush and see what came of it.
I took countless serving jobs while living in Chicago, at one of which I met Spaceface, a goofy band of bros from Memphis. They invited me to Tennessee to see them play their Halloween show, and to all of our surprise, I jumped on the Greyhound and took them up on their offer.
That leap of faith into the cool pool of curiosity is what led me to discover parts of myself that might have never felt safe surfacing, thanks to the incredible artist freaks I met along the way (myself included).
Chicago will always be home in my heart, but in the summer of 2016, it began to feel like an itchy, too-tight sweater. I decided to take nothing but a heavy backpack and a bus ticket and travel around the country; visiting my new friends in their hometowns, immersing myself in music and art, and eating so very much pizza.
My travels brought me right back to where I started, Kane County, but as a person I have learned to love and think is actually pretty rad. I now live with my partner, Austin, and the sassiest cat in Aurora, where I am inspired constantly and feel welcomed both as an artist and a human.