What Kind of Art Do You Do?

When I tell people that I’m an artist I usually get hit with a “Cool--what kind of art do you do?” It’s a well-meaning question designed to express interest, but it always triggers a mental eye roll on my part. Before I clumsily attempt to answer, I think to myself: the point of being an artist is having the luxury to communicate visually rather than verbally. To show, rather than tell. It’s not that I can’t see the value articulating my art. I even enjoy talking about what I paint and why. But to understand the kind of artist I am, and the kind of work I create, you have to see it for yourself.

I’ve spent the last month agonizing over the written materials for MFA applications. I’ve wondered: if a picture is worth 1,000 words, than why are MFA statements of purpose only 500? I’ve been trying to distill this life-long, complex, and deeply personal relationship with creating into a succinct, professional summary. And while I think I’ve managed to get something moderately impressive down on paper, I’m now left to wait, and wonder if it’s good enough.

I write about my art in fits and starts. The blog portion of my website often goes long periods without being updated, something which I often feel guilty about. It’s my art. I should be able to eloquently write about it. I should be able to explain myself. But I think I’ve finally begun to understand why it is so hard for me to explain my art in words. I’m thinking all the damn time! I also work alone, from my studio at home. My thoughts therefore, usually end up reverberating around my own head. The only time they stop is when I’m painting. Painting, sketching, lurking around with my camera is when I cease to think and instead get to feel. And that’s the goal of art really. In essence art is to feel and to make other people feel.

So I suppose my whole point here is that yes, art takes thought. It takes ideas and intellect, and rigorous research. It says a lot and you can say a lot about it. But it’s also meant to be seen, felt, and taken in at a much deeper level than simply being ingested and intellectualized. So the next time someone asks me what kind of art I make, I’m simply going to reply “See for yourself.”

Berlin and the Art of Remembrance


Although Street Art has long eclipsed it’s outlaw origins, with artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey garnering cult like followings and critical acclaim, it’s still challenges traditional ideas about how we interact with, and consume art.  

I recently traveled to Berlin, and was struck by the similarities between the way that street art and memorials exist within Berlin’s public spaces. The most obvious similarity is that both are everywhere. The city is covered with memorials and public art commemorating the lives lost and changed forever by Nazism and the division of the city by the Berlin Wall. As for street art, it’s impossible to walk two blocks without stumbling upon a sticker or stencil.

But beyond their coexistence within public space, both street art and memorials in Berlin evoke similar gut-wrenching feelings that force the view to confront the past. Berlin spent most of the twentieth century as an occupied city, first as the epicenter of the Nazi regime, then by the allied troops, and then half the city held hostage under Soviet and East Germany until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

Nods to the past are perhaps most evident in Berlin’s many memorials. Huge sections of the Berlin Wall still stand-covered in art and confessional stories of East Berliners’ experiences. Micha Ulman’s installation of empty bookshelves in Bebelplatz commemorates the Nazi book burnings. However, Berlin’s turbulent history is also evident in the city’s street art. Victor Ash’s Cosmonaut gestures to the space race. Symbols of Berlin’s East-West divide show up depictions of Mickey Mouse vs. Chebrushska (The Soviet Union’s Mouse Cartoon).

After spending a few days in Berlin, the lines become blurred between art and memorial, memorial and art. Berlin’s street art tradition largely emerged from the city’s history, blossoming in the 90’s after the fall of the Berlin wall. The street art acts as it’s own accidental memorial to the past. It pays homage to, or maybe tries to defy the city’s multiple occupations. The marks of Berlin’s many street artists seem to scream “We own this city”—a collective rallying cry that Berlin will never be occupied by anyone other than Berliners ever again.

The visual contrast between art and memorial makes their similarities all the more interesting. The often colorful, and whimsical street art often stands in stark contrast to the somber memorials that commemorate the city’s grim history.

27 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city’s street art landscape is changing. Many of the abandoned buildings that were once playgrounds for Berlin’s artists are being demolished in favor of luxury condos. The city faces new political and social challenges. As new generations of Berliners are further removed from the events of the twentieth century, art—both public and renegade street art—will be the medium by which we understand, commemorate, and confront humanity’s past.


Show at Generations

I wanted to share some pictures of an impromptu show I did the other week at Generations in Capitol Hill. Having an online portfolio is a fun way to curate my work, but there's nothing like having the opportunity to watch people interact with your art in person. It was a night of great art, great music, great people, and some pretty good beer! Please excuse the blurry photo-there was dancing involved. 





Art at Wink Hair Studio

I've been showing my artwork at Wink Hair Studio in Queen Anne, Seattle this summer, and you still have about a month to stop by and see my work! The collection at Wink includes a variety of colorful landscapes and features my work of the Pacific Northwest. All of the artwork is for sale. Please reach out if a piece speaks to you! 



P.S. The ladies at Wink do amazing work. My hair is looking fabulous as we speak ;)



My first masterpiece. Check out the bee with no wings--so avant garde! 

Read More