I was raised in a museum. Actually, it was a house, but it bore a striking resemblance to museums. My family lived among my parents’ carefully curated collections, both natural and manmade. The main difference between our home and a museum was that no velvet rope or blazer-clad security force was employed to keep me, or anyone else, for that matter, away from the fossils, fabrics, art objects, and antiques. I was allowed to touch everything, and encouraged to use it to make, create, and do whatever I could imagine. No other life experience has shaped my artistic practice more dramatically. Being raised in an environment that encouraged play, make-believe, experimentation, touch, and even failure, has made me believe, as an artist, that trying new combinations, materials, and themes is always acceptable, and that failure is its own form of success.
In my work, I often combine familiar elements in new ways, in order to illustrate concepts that are not easily communicated. I recently exhibited an installation project that used digitally altered family vacation slides from the 1950’s-60’s and a period-appropriate living room setup to convey ideas about constructed family identity and memory. The highlight of that exhibition was when my 80-year-old grandparents, who do not frequent art events, told me they “got” it. This was significant to me, because I truly believe that art should be accessible to people outside of the elite, academic few. If artists only make art for other artists and a handful of wealthy patrons, what have we really accomplished?
I believe that the evolution of visual art has been a continuous journey to find new ways to connect something viewed to something that is felt and experienced. This belief has caused me to enter a more conceptual phase in my art, yet stay within familiar tropes and imagery, so that my art can be approachable; a visual conversation, accessible to all.