When I was young, I filled my sketchbook with drawings of puffy birds with huge, pointy beaks and long legs. I loved drawing things feathered and furred, winged and scaled. I loved drawing insects, dinosaurs, dragons, horses, birds… And I still do.
My current work is about social niceties and cultural expectations, and the desire to fulfill or reject them. In it, I explore the emotional disconnect between what we feel and how we present ourselves to the world. This work is about the masks we put on every day. It’s about feelings we want to hide out of shame or fear, or happy feelings we suppress to avoid creating a scene. It’s about composure in the face of adversity, and inner strength and resolve. It’s also about whimsy.
Hair features prominently in this series as a means of expression. Having a head of uncontrollable curly hair that escapes any binding I put it in often makes me feel as though it has a life of its own. In these images, hair either reflects hidden inner emotion, or becomes an affliction of its own to be endured.
I work in acrylics, using many layers in a dry-brush technique called scumbling. The lower-most layers are bright colors, with more muted colors on top – though in many places, the bright colors still shine through, just tantalizing hints of what is going on underneath. In a way, the ladies in my paintings are the same: there are many layers to them, and the muted facade only hints at what is going on below the surface.