On Friday, my first solo show debuted at Latela Art Gallery in my neighborhood of Brookland, in Washington, DC, in an intimate reception. For the last 6 months I've been prepping for the show, one which would bear my soul regarding the emotional rollercoaster my last year of painting fulltime.
Below is the shows foreword, as seen in the catalog, for your reading...
A Year Ago I Decided To Quit
As much as I would have liked to have dropped everything, start over, and move someplace new, I’m an adult, and adults have responsibilities. Plus, my boyfriend has a really cute cat that I couldn’t leave behind.
I’ve been a creator my whole life. Growing up, any chance I had to create, I took it. As much as my high school art teacher probably grew tired of me, I like to think he also saw something special. I got special assignments, and felt at home in the art studio — whether it was sculpting, painting, drawing (anything but flowers… Mr. Powell had a way of getting to the one thing I hated doing and making me do it), I loved the chaos of creation — the messy shelves filled with random bits of material, the adjacent dark room and that very specific chemical smell, the mess of the clay studio. I like to think that I balance creative and analytical (or at least reasonable) fairly well. It was to that end that I decided it might be worth my time to invest in a creative endeavor that led to a profitable career. Questionable whether that turned out to be true, what with all the student loans that piled up.
Point is, I decided to pause who I was and join the rest of the working stiffs as a designer. I started in graphic design because when they were teaching it in high school, I still got to use glue machines, printing presses, x-actos and tape… but fast forward a bit and I found myself in front of a computer every day, all day. I was a user experience designer, a web designer, an I-don’tcare- why-am-I-in-front-of-a-computer-still designer. I took up painting again over the years as a small hobby to tide me over, but life, one way or another, would get in the way.
A combination of how I grew up and a society that values ranking and grading everything led me to a depressive episode that brought me to my knees. Crippling anxiety, terror, heart palpitations—I needed to get away from it. To start over. So I left my lucrative executive design job to do what you are looking at now. When I started a year ago, the work was laughably bad, but made me happy. Over time I have evolved to find a voice and direction, focusing on the chaotic emotions and thoughts racing through our heads. It’s tough at times, but I revisit previous experiences to put them on canvas, creating a particular emotion in each piece. My hope is that it comes through for you, dear viewer.
It Looks Easier Than It Is, is an homage to both my mental and emotional struggles through anxiety and depression specifically over the last year as I found out what it took to become an artist out of nothing. With wet acrylics, spray paint, pastels and more, I aim to make marks and create flow that engulfs you in each experience I’ve had. Enjoy.
It was a lovely, intimate event. We have several other events planned for this month, including a live painting session I'll be doing at Third Thursday at Latela on May 18th. That should be fun!
You can find all the pieces on view at the gallery through May 27th, as well as online here.