I am excited to introduce you to the latest talent in my Artist Spotlight Series…
What is your training?
I studied Architecture at the University of Illinois from 84-87 and after taking a break to work at a Chicago firm for several years, realized it was not what I wanted to do with my life. Ten years later I completed my final year of undergraduate studies in Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I immediately pursued an MFA in Painting and Drawing, graduating in 1999.
What inspires you and your designs?
My immediate environment. I take a lot of walks and bike rides through the city and there are interesting patterns and shape combinations everywhere, layers of structures like power lines against brick facades, peeling or blacked out subway billboards or the negative shapes of sky created by closely spaced high-rise buildings. I am drawn to architectural details like the close up of a window at night in relation to the frame around it and the space just beyond, or the sliver of space when a door is left slightly open. I sometimes use fashion and design magazines to find complex and non-traditional color and pattern combinations. I’m not creating literal interpretations, but there is a direct influence.
What is your favorite piece?
“Favorite” is a difficult term for me to use when referencing my work because of the emotional immediacy involved with what I’m working on at the moment. However, Triple Color Reverb does have a special place in my heart, as it is the first painting that hit on all cylinders in this current series.
How has your area or upbringing influenced your work?
As mentioned previously, my work is directly influenced by my environment, so growing up in Chicago has had a significant impact. It hasn’t been solely visual as the pace of the city inspired me to capture a kind of similar beat in the movement of my work. I want to have areas that make your eye move quickly through the piece and then stop or slow. Color, shape and the handling of the paint guide the viewer’s eye at these different speeds. All of it in concert keeping the eye engaged and traveling through the work. We’re all moving quickly to the next thing and often something out of the corner of our eye catches and holds our attention. It’s these moments I’m describing through slivers of color or pattern that engage the eye in a similar manner.
What is your favorite restaurant in Brooklyn?
I haven’t been in Brooklyn long enough to have a favorite yet, but there’s a little bakery in my neighborhood called Richol Bakery that is delicious and run by such a good group of people. I also really enjoy Tom’s Restaurant on Flatbush. I love feeling welcome when I visit a restaurant. I’ve actually been getting more into cooking for myself, and the Farmers Markets here are fantastic!
What is your favorite cocktail?
Lime margarita on the rocks or a whiskey sour depending on my mood. Most nights it’s a Hoegarden.
How do you balance personal life and work?
That’s always difficult, especially with a full-time job which adds a third component. I have an incredibly supportive partner who understands I want and need to be painting as much as possible. With that being said, on weekdays I paint in the evening until I am tired. Working in the studio is one of my favorite places to be, so I don’t find it difficult at all. On the weekends, I make a point of going on a long bike ride in the mornings to get some exercise and fresh air, and I usually take a walk in the late afternoon. I need to make sure I don’t spend the whole day in my head, as I can easily get caught up in the work and not go out and see people.
I would love to spend a year abroad starting in Thailand then Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and India… then to Turkey, Hungary, Germany, and the Netherlands… and then head south, finishing in Spain. I spent some time in Spain a few years ago and felt so incredibly at home, like no other place I’d been. Another dream trip is a drive through the states with nowhere in particular in mind. It would be nice to just get in a car with my boyfriend, my dog and a few art supplies and just go. I could do that for a year as well.
Ah yes, I have actually thought about this lately, especially as I ride my bike through Brooklyn. I would love to create an installation in this little plaza in Crown Heights, near my apartment. It’s in a park where I walk my dog, and it’s such a great gathering place for the neighborhood. When you enter the park from Nostrand Ave., there’s an open area where a tall wall connects a service building to a support wall for a garden where it then gradually slopes to the ground. I would love to use this whole space extending onto the sidewalk and the surrounding benches for a painting installation.
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
I don’t have a typical gift. It depends on the person. Sometimes it could be as simple as a craft six-pack, a book or a unique bottle opener, but I always want it to be something specific to the person.
Who is your style icon?
Hands down, Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. I love her combination of individuality and female strength. I want more women like her as examples to young girls as a way to be a woman without having to be less than to make others comfortable.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
and Esteban Cabeza de Baca. They’re two fantastic, young painters. They’re very different artists but both have incredible paint handling skills that are unique to them. I get excited at the active compositions in each of their works.
What is your most treasured possession?
She’s not quite a possession, but my dog Bella. She’s a very affectionate and sweet, white pit-bull I found at animal control in Georgia. She’s nothing but love. As for an actual object, for so many reasons it would be my bike.
What are you reading?
The Goldfinch by Donna Tart;
Why Does the World Exist by Jim Holt; and Abstraction:
I love fiction and non-fiction and I tend to read that on my commute to work. For the most part, my art book reading is done at home.
What are you listening to?
I’m all over the place depending on my state of my mind. In the morning I often prefer to work in silence. It’s a quiet time of day and to pierce it with any sound would be losing a golden opportunity for a calm beginning.
Then there is a group like Los Panchos, which my mother listened to growing up and feels like my history and my present.
What are your favorite blogs / publications?
Blogs are a great way of keeping informed with what’s going on, but there are so many it’s difficult to keep up with them all. The blogs I do make an effort to read regularly are
Two Coats of Paint, Studio Critical, Pencil in the Studio, Bad at Sports and Burnaway. As I mentioned earlier I am enjoying cooking my own food in an effort to know what I’m eating and Detoxinista and My New Roots have wonderful recipes. Publications range from leafing through Art Forum and reading what grabs my attention, and sometimes Vogue magazine depending on if it lures me in visually. I consistently read Art In America and the Brooklyn Rail, and I always read the Friday Times art reviews and Jerry Saltz’s column for New York magazine.
Here is my favorite…divine color and composition.