My work revolves around the changing dynamics of relationships, particularly within the context of social issues, and where relationships are defined as being between multiple persons, between people and the spaces both public and private, between people and language, between people and objects, and otherwise. I examine these relationships in negative and positive contexts and how they affect our individual and collective identities as well as the issues tied to them.
The majority of the issues addressed through my work are those surrounded by stigma, such as domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, mental health, and incarceration. Stigma prevents many from talking openly about these topics, which increases misconceptions and “othering”: the idea that these things exist only for certain kinds of people in certain kinds of ways. Through conversation, experience, and interaction I can reduce stigmas and destroy the idea of the “other” when it comes to our understanding of these issues and who they affect. My practice strives to create spaces for conversation, opportunities for education and awareness, and actions for change around these subjects. I seek to make these hard topics more accessible, while still honest, and without sensationalization. Doing so creates space for action and change.
Through advocacy, storytelling, interviewing, and other civic engagement methods, with a particular focus on asset based community development and appreciative inquiry, I collect experiences and share them using a variety of mediums. My work is most effective when it incorporates multiple mediums. Layered prints and drawings share personal, complex stories and perspectives and are the backdrop for performances which highlight the statistics directly impacting the community where the stories live. Objects and installations archive the various languages associated with the stories and give audiences an opportunity to interact physically with these ideas. Working in installations, performance, social practice, printmaking, drawing and painting together means each piece works contextually in larger bodies of work to highlight larger narratives and/or social issues while individually telling the stories of those people directly impacted by the story. In my most recent work, I have intentionally created opportunities for collaboration with other artists, organizers, activists, and advocates to bring additional voices to enrich the conversations I am creating. Most importantly, I strive to create work which invites audiences to engage and gives them an opportunity to examine something from a perspective that is not their own.
I believe that by focusing on the extremely personal we can understand and experience something more universal. I also acknowledge the limits of our understanding each other and the limits of our relationships with one another. I am concerned with addressing and discovering these limits. I am driven by the philosophy that understanding comes through experience and ultimately this belief drives the core of my work, and all that I do.