ABOUT THE ARTIST
I’ve always known in my heart that I wanted to be an artist. My grandma would encourage me to draw from a very early age, however, I really started to pick up my love for art when I was in high school. I would spend hours upon hours every week drawing, taking photographs, and sketching out new projects. That’s all thanks to my amazing art teacher Mrs. Julie Thomas; without her, there’s no way that I would’ve taken the path that I’m currently on. She really helped me realize what I was capable of accomplishing.
Once I graduated high school, I went to college and decided that I wanted to go to school for art. I studied under amazing artists at OSU and was privileged enough to work with nude models and learn how to draw from life. However, I felt as though it would be impossible to be a successful artist who was capable of supporting herself in this trade. I realized how hard it was to sell work and that scared me so badly that I changed my major to art history. As an art history major, I focused on Italian Renaissance art as well as contemporary American art. I thought I wanted to be a curator for the rest of my life and dropped drawing entirely. I began to spend multiple hours writing about other artists' work and their accomplishments. I would then go on to curate two art shows with some help from my amazing girlfriend Hope Bailey and a small team of other art history students. I would attend museum and gallery openings to hear the artists speak about their work in person and it wasn’t until my senior year in college when I realized that what I was doing was insanely backward.
I took a huge leap of “Let’s just try this and see if it works out” and dropped out of college, leaving my art history education to rot in the dust. I started drawing again and really focusing on MY art. Now I’m here, creating art because that’s what I want to do and I don’t need a fancy piece of paper to tell me that I’m qualified enough to do it. I look forward to focusing on my creative process every day, I find that I’m growing faster as an artist on my own than I ever did in school. I see my work from just a few months ago and it shocks me to see how different and how much better my work has become.
I thank you for being one of the people that support me as you are here reading about my art story.
As an Oklahoman, growing up I had the unique experience of both city and country life which made me who I am today. Though I lived in Tulsa my whole life (which I’d consider a “big city”), part of growing up for me was seeing my aunt and uncle in Vinita, Oklahoma, where very little city existed. In one Halloween memory as a small child, my uncle took me out on a hayride in his 1940s Allis-Chalmers tractor - a piece of farm equipment he was very proud of - where my family was hiding, getting ready to scare me along the ride. In those moments between scares, it felt like just me and the open star-lit sky above. With no light pollution, the view of the night sky was staggering. It was that night that I started realizing just how small we all are on Earth. I think everyone has felt this smallness at some point in their lives, but for me, it played a big role in how I see the world around me growing up, especially when thinking about what makes creatures “mystical.”
Though there’s no doubt there’s likely life elsewhere in the universe, chances are there’s only one Earth like ours. The animals and nature surrounding us, though they seem normal to us and are often overlooked or disregarded, are just as mythical as any creature we can imagine. I love drawing wildlife and flora because it’s a constant reminder of not just the beauty of the life we have on Earth, but the rarity. It’s more evident now than ever that any other life in the galaxy would be subject to different conditions all around them, forming creatures unlike what we can imagine. Even within Earth’s atmosphere, all life is constantly evolving; a heron today may look nothing like a heron a hundred thousand years from now. By drawing animals caught in a moment of time, I’m celebrating the time, the rarity, and the unthinkable number of factors that brought that creature into existence.
In tandem with the celebration of life, I have given special attention to the idea of birth, death, and regeneration throughout every work I make. To further the feeling of quiet celebration, flowers are utilized much like the flowers gifted between humans at major life events. At births, at milestones of life, and even in death, flowers celebrate life in its many stages. This is a theme constant in every work I create, as a familiar symbol to those viewing the works. Life has an expiration date; however, the life that is given is not at random. We are born into creation through a fantastic series of events that make us who we are. An infinite cocktail of factors brought us where we are today, and if even one of those factors were out of place, it’s likely that we would not be here at all. Through birth, death, and regeneration we have the privilege of being a part of a great celestial cycle in which evolution allows our mystical creatures on Earth to transform over time. Though there is endless debate about what happens to the spirit as regeneration continues on Earth, perhaps the spirit evolves alongside physical beings, creating an endless flow of energy beyond what we can see.
In these works, each animal has their own unique qualities that define a personality, a spirit, and a place in time. Representing either birth, death, or regeneration, each being reflects a celebratory moment in the celestial cycle. It’s my hope that as viewers analyze the mystical creatures before them, they consider moments in which they’ve felt their own position in the universe, much like I did so many years ago in Vinita, Oklahoma.