Someone asked me the other day to describe my work, and I had to pause to consider what to say for a moment.
It’s kind of all over the board, I replied. Most of it is considered fine art, some of it more illustration. It depends on the day really - sometimes I want to be tedious with colored pencil, sometimes I want to push contrast with watercolor or oils, and sometimes I want the ease of a ballpoint pen. The consistency of my work is that it conveys my values and life story, and keeps me from getting bored.
“Huh”, was their response.
The quizzical response made me laugh, because sometimes I feel that way too when I consider my wide body of work. Truthfully, I have spent my life with 72 tabs open in my brain at all times, constantly toggling between them the way someone might channel surf on a Friday night. I was diagnosed with ADD as a child, and have carried it with me through life like an idea and question manufacturing superpower. I can’t help myself. My YouTube search history in the last few days alone consists of a hodgepodge of topics including, how trees communicate through a network of fungi, platonic solids, differentiating North American bird calls, thermodynamics, gluten free meatloaf recipe, Pete Buttigieg, and Saxophone for beginners. My innate curiosity to explore ideas constantly leads me down rabbit holes full of more questions until I find myself wondering where the time has gone with nothing to show for it other than a list of new ideas and an empty stomach.
It’s only natural that my need for exploration transfers into my art practice as well. At its core, I approach art making as a way to make sense of all the open tabs in my head, to explore ideas more deeply and thoroughly. And, like my diverse YouTube search history, my work doesn’t always look cohesive. Right now, I’m working on three different series at once, each with its own body of work independently of the others. And yet, they are all representative of who I am as both a person and an artist.
My torn patterns in ballpoint pen and watercolor fulfills my desire to make work about the layers of contradiction in everyday life; the balance between bold and delicate, and the predictable nature of pattern that is broken into chaos when it is torn and folded. Then I have my colored pencil hands that I have been cutting apart and collaging with gold leaf and more patterns. They are representative of the ways in which our pieced together experiences propel our lives forward. Then there is my Heroes for Her series, born from my need as a mother to provide my daughter with a narrative to discuss worthy role models, people whose first profession isn’t Instagram Influencer or YouTube celebrity. I’m all over the place, but at the same time, very much me.
There are days when I feel uncertain about the different directions my work goes in, like I should be focusing on just one of these ideas instead of all of them, a small, poking, underlying pressure to create work that is all visually cohesive and recognizable, a perfect Instagram feed that explores the same theme with similar mediums and style. But, that would be like taking all my 72 tabs and condensing them down to only a few; and while that sure does sound peaceful and easier at times for me, I sure would get bored, and who wants that?