Your work is very graphic and uses text and color. Do you come from a graphic design background?
I don’t have a formal background or training in graphic design, but I’ve done a decent amount of design work for projects and jobs I’ve been involved with in the arts in the past. More than that I am naturally drawn to how information is presented to the general public in order to brand something or sway society’s thinking and feeling. Specifically speaking, 20th century propaganda and advertising are some of the things I find most influence my work, although I don’t try to replicate them.
What are the stages that go into making one of your pieces?
It certainly varies. With my paintings and sculptures I generally start with a shell of an idea- the idea, the crafting of dual tension and symbiosis between text and image, or text and shape, is the most important thing to me. Once I know the nuts and bolts of the content, I begin intuitively playing with the color, typography, shapes and composition until the piece carries new implications on a level where I myself can find new levels of meaning and hidden nuances. At that point the piece has a life of its own- its own intangible agenda, if you will- and then I feel like I have done my work.
I also have a funny habit of making piles of semi paintings on small irregularly shaped or partial panels. They feel a bit like puzzle pieces to me. I rearrange them periodically until I find an arrangement that works fluidly as a cohesive whole.
As well, I create text installations/interventions within my home and other spaces. Those works come from a more poetic perspective and are derived from and constructed for their spaces- working with the architecture and energy already present. I regard them as minimal partial narratives in the sense that they interject an implication for a story into a space.
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You are married with kids. How do you manage it all?
I’m married to an artist (Emmett Potter) who is die-hard supportive of me, and we exhibit our work together really frequently. Having a partner who is also an artist is a tremendous gift- we both understand the necessity of time and space for making work and our lives really are constructed around art. Emmett and I met when I was a single mom and we had studios in the same building- it was very tough back then to find time for my art. At this point the kids have grown up around art studios and galleries, and even though they are only 6 and 8 years old they seem to understand and honor the need for creative space- there’s a real value for it in our home. Being a mom and an artist does make my schedule totally insane sometimes, but above all it forces me to keep my priorities in check. As well, it’s terribly important for me to raise daughters who know that they can pursue their passion and build a career out of it and have a family at the same time if they want to. It is possible to be fully present with both- you just have to be hella tenacious and smart with your time.
Tell us a little bit about the gallery you use to run? Any plans in the future to open a new space?
Emmett and I had a gallery called Squeeze Gallery back in 2010-2011. We focused on progressive contemporary art with a conceptual pop vibe and worked with some of the most fantastic artists. It was never intended to be permanent, although it flourished tremendously and showed a lot of promise. Since then Emmett has continued to do work as an art dealer and I have done a lot of art writing- so that’s our way of engaging with other artists in a business sense. At this point we don’t have plans to open another gallery, but you never know where life will take you.
Have you seen a change in your work at all within the past year? If so, what would you say that would be?
In this past year I’ve begun taking a new interest in form and movement and establishing a sense of conversation within my work. Within this approach I take consideration of where separate surfaces connect and how they move in space. I create my work in a very flat hard edged manner, so creating works that move from the wall to the floor, or transition from flat panels into painted cubes establishes additional ways for the painted imagery and words to interact.
Another change is the nature of the content I use. In a number of my works I began using new types of iconic references- some easily identifiable and others more obscure. I like pulling from the distant past and recent past and combining elements from seemingly disconnected periods, such as Homer’s The Odyssey and Brave New World, or E.T. and MacBeth. A friend and mentor of mine, John Randall Nelson, remarked that these function like “hybrid mythologies” and I thought that was a really astute observation. To me they carry an equal sense of weight and playfulness, but more importantly, an opportunity for a new open ended narrative to emerge.
Any upcoming projects we should know about?
I’m really looking forward to being in the show with Bill Dambrova, Jel Martinez and Kiki Valdes in Phoenix this April. That show is going to be fantastic. Emmett and I are collaborating on another big mural in Phoenix as part of a huge mural event in early March. Then, Emmett and I have a huge 3 month long show together at the Joseph Gross Gallery at University of Arizona, opening at the end of May. The space is outstanding with huge walls and high ceilings, and the curator Brooke Grucella has brought a number of artists I respect a great deal into the space in the recent past- Ben Venom, Erin Riley, Gregory Euclide and Josh Keyes, amongst others. So to do a show there is a real honor. And, of course, I am stoked to show in Miami next November with a bunch of fantastic Miami artists with the Michael Margulies Artist Agency. 2014 is an exciting year.
Lowest point in your art practice was when? Highest point thus far in your art practice was when?
That’s hard to say. I feel like being an active artist is a balance between moving slow and steady enough to be present and hustling your ass off. Woven into all of it are so many highs and lows- days where things fall into place magically in the studio and days where the work just isn’t coming together right. I feel like if there was a lowest point it would have been several years ago before I knew well enough that this is just the rhythm of this whole rollercoaster and that “low points” really are an opportunity to find the “high points.” Polarities define one another- so it’s all the same to me. An art teacher of mine said to me a decade ago “After the breakdown comes the breakthrough.” In other words, without a hurtle, what would force you to jump higher? In that regard I view hurtles and “breakdowns” as a good omen of what is to come. The Wheel of Fortune is constantly in motion swinging us up and down- just got to keep on keeping on.