I am a self-taught artist dealing with both physical disability and mental illness: Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and Bipolar Disorder. There isn’t a day that goes by where I am not using art in some way to magically repair the constant pain and trauma that life seems to hand me, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor.
I began creating art as far back as I can remember. I drew cartoons underneath the tables at the bowling alleys where my parents won trophies for knocking all of the pins over. I was very shy and introverted and spent a great deal of time alone. I also did not attended school much at all. Instead I worked as a pattern cutter in the apparel industry with my strange and dysfunctional family from the age of 11 to help pay the bills. I even left home when I was just 14 because there were all kinds of abuse going on in my house.
However, growing up in the Los Angeles sweatshops later became the thread that flowed through the story in my artwork. Childhood dreams and the materials from the garment manufacturing trade crept into my work as a type of redemption. For a long time, I saw my work as a way to recreate scenes from my past to make them humorous, like I was repairing a broken history. Making art was always a methodical, visionary activity I used to distract myself from physical and emotional pain.
I have weakness in my extremities, achy bones, and electrical pain down my arms and legs. In fact, I used to play the drums professionally, but after I was diagnosed with MS, I had to refocus the way in which I wanted to express myself and painting was always there for me, like a saving grace, and in a way, my disabilities became the catalyst I needed to completely submerge myself into visual art. Simultaneously, working as an artist has also lifted my spirits to limitless places and heals me.
I love working in oil paint because the pigments are so vibrant. They seem to stay alive, moving and swirling forever within the artwork, as if they are entities in and of themselves. I sometimes like to mix mediums by adding pattern paper, fabric or even embroidery to my surfaces, depending on how I imagine my compositions, which all begin as crude, spontaneous ideas that are then worked upon with extra special attention to craftsmanship. I like to take ridiculous ideas and turn them into something very serious. Doing this gives me great joy that is difficult to describe. I have a playful imagination and I aim to make others happy too. In essence, it makes me feel better when I can manage to inspire other people.
My work has gone through a few different transitions, from cartoons, to abstract, and lately into cartoony landscapes, but I feel like my essence and sense of humor are always present in my work and hope that my viewers can come away feeling engaged, lighter, resolved, happier, or just feel as though their minds have been tickled a bit. Ultimately, it would be great if I could fully transfer a meaningful existential experience to my viewers, but I truly feel that my work should become a private experience of their own.