1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, which is a suburb of New Orleans. I started drawing and painting at a very young age, creating mass amounts of “artwork.” By the time I was in school, teachers took notice of my art and I was enrolled in various programs, most notably the Talented Art Program. I remained in TAP up until graduating high school. I studied art at Loyola University and after graduation, took on different art-related jobs such as freelance graphic design and in-house jewelry design. I finally decided to take the plunge and just do what I really wanted to do, which was to paint.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
Contemporary Surrealism. I create very detailed, surreal narratives centered around animal welfare and environmental issues.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I like working with acrylics because I’m usually working on pieces up until a show and can’t afford to wait on them to dry. The paintings themselves require a lot of time as it is, so waiting on them to cure would be taxing.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I start out with thumbnail sketches of the basic concept behind a painting, and I’ll do roughly 50 variations on that concept until I have the right one. Then I’ll draw out the piece to size. If I feel like it would work better a bit larger (or even smaller), then I’ll draw it out again. Once I have that final composition worked out, I’ll then transfer that drawing to canvas, sometimes just tracing what I just did with tracing paper. I try to keep my drawing on canvas fairly basic, and work out the rest with paint. Then I do a rough layer of paint, just working out the basic image and getting the colors down. The subsequent layers of paint are to build the colors, and refine the details of everything, getting more detailed until the final layer of paint. I go through a lot of tiny brushes in the process, and keep a stockpile of them on hand.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I’m inspired by nature- animals, plants, landscapes. I’ve been vegan for the past 18 years and that also influences my work. The welfare of our planet and all life is a recurring theme in my paintings.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art is my life. It’s how I function. If I’m not painting, I’m thinking of new paintings I want to create. I see everything as a source of inspiration, every time I step outside, every time I look at my cats or dog, every time I come across a tiny insect. All of these things are beautiful and inspirational, and I feel it’s my duty to use my art to help protect them.
7. Where did you study?
Loyola University New Orleans.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
My future plans are to continue showing at galleries and museums in the U.S. and abroad, especially in new areas. I’m always looking to reach new audiences. I’d like to travel more as well.
9. What about in ten?
Same as above. Keep on keeping on. 🙂
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want people to care about nature as much as I do. I want to inspire people, get them thinking of what they can do, and create positive change.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I should be responsible and name a vegetable, but I’m going to have to admit to an addiction to vegan ice cream, specifically the Snickerdoodle flavor.
12. Favourite book?
It used to be Wuthering Heights, but I’ve been reading a lot more nonfiction and I think I’m going to have to change my answer to The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen.
13. Favourite genre of music?
14. What are your hobbies?
Reading, cooking, weightlifting, and spending time with my fur babies.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Does fashion designer count? That’s technically still an artist. I’ll go with running my own animal rescue organization.