I began focusing on painting after working in business and then as a lawyer. I used to walk past an art supply store on my way to work daily. Though I couldn’t shake from my head the desire to go inside, I felt intimidated and overwhelmed by the selection. Not knowing where to begin, but knowing I wanted to begin, I bought a box of watercolor paint. From there, I found online classes and workshops that made me remember how much I loved the drawing class I took in high school. While I sometimes regret not recognizing or investing in this passion earlier, my art practice draws heavily on my past experiences. Much of my work reflects my desire to break free from the box of respectability, the pressure felt under a predominantly white, male gaze, in order to find my true self.
I did not attend a formal art school program; however, I have studied figure drawing and portraiture with Jody Mattison and abstraction with Melinda Cootsona. I am grateful to all the artists I have met in community centers and as part of online forums for their advice and encouragement.
I live with my husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I am using oil paint and collage elements to create abstract figurative paintings that center Black women. I like to think of my art as a love poem to Black women. Black women’s bodies and emotions are under constant scrutiny. I am trying to treat us with the tenderness and nuance that is too often denied as we are looked at as a particular “type.” I create in layers to let the narrative emerge through textures and patterns. Creating in layers is an important part of my creative process. Underneath the final image are mistakes, intentional and unintentional marks, layers that I was convinced were final until they weren’t. I work in layers to resist my impulse to create perfectly. The image that ultimately emerges is forged from missteps and wrong turns that somehow still lead to the right place.
I am interested in spaces in which Black women are able to engage in self care and self expression as an act of self-preservation. The women I paint are often nude, but the amount of exposure is not about her sexuality or objectification. Through different levels of abstraction, I am exploring how Black women can exercise their agency to reveal as much or as little as she chooses. My work responds to those who would have us be a certain way-- whether it is a tired stereotype or some notion of what we “should” do-- by showing that our essence is far more beautiful.