I use backstories to give life to the figures I create. Loosely based on my own human experiences, and bolstered by my imagination, I create scenarios, emotions and opinions for my subjects. Once I forge a connection to their stories, the creating part gets a lot easier. I've found that the stories I weave throughout my art don’t have to be realistic to be relatable. In fact, I love distorting my characters’ features—giant eyes and tiny mouths make frequent appearances. Still, I strive to make them feel "real enough" that viewers can recognize the humanity within them. Whether I’m painting an adoring chicken or sculpting a head growing out of a vase, my aim is for others to engage with and ultimately relate to the small human stories within them. My goal isn’t for them to say, “Oh, that’s pretty!” Instead, I want them to recognize some emotion and trigger empathy. “Oh, bless her heart!” or “Oh, she reminds me of my sister…I just love her!”
Becoming an artist was a process of writing myself back into my own story. After a career in healthcare and education, I found that being an artist allowed me to appreciate my own unique perspective and to focus on the emotional complexity of humans, which has always fascinated me. With just a glimpse below the surface, we see the intricacy—our minds and hearts taking turns steering the ship, our stories, real and imagined, overlapping and intermingling. Whether bittersweet, silly, or seriously odd - I love exploring the human narrative.
One of the best things about painting and sculpting figures is that I’ll never run out of material. With humans, there’s always a backstory.