I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. My influences and passions in life were formed from my upbringing; the love for art and supporting people with different abilities. My Father was a longshoreman and my Mother works with people with developmental disabilities and is also an artist (but she doesn't think so). My Dad has been gone for about 13 years now, but he raised us kids on Jazz music. I started getting into music in the 9th grade when I got my first record player for Christmas. Since then I have loved old music; especially, blues, soul and old country. My Father passed away by surprise at age 20; after that, I picked up a paintbrush and started painting. I learned to turn my feelings of sadness into something positive like tangible, colorful paintings. Kinda like how Blues music started from pain.
I studied Art Therapy in college and moved to Minnesota, where my roots are. There, I worked with adults with intellectual disabilities and severe mental illnesses. We worked together on an Organic farm, and I also taught art to my clients every day. I was already planning on moving to New Orleans and soon packed up my 88' Volvo and headed down south in August of 2016. I spent a month in Mississippi before I moved to New Orleans. I was in love; I finally got to be where I dreamed of being; the place which inspired my artwork. For years, even before I moved down South, my style has been very folky with lots of colors, which has always encompassed that New Orleans spirit.
We have been in New Orleans for going on 5 years now and adopted a little dog, named Gris-Gris. I currently work as a Special Education Teacher and in my spare time, I paint. Painting puts my personality on canvas as well as pay homage to the Gods of the Delta Blues.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words. Vibrant-Funky-Bluesy
Describe yourself in one word. Zany.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I love the grittiness and the colors that New Orleans brings, especially living in the Lower Ninth Ward. I get inspiration from New Orleans' natives and the fearless children running around my block. I love talking with my neighbors who knew New Orleans before Katrina. People of New Orleans are vibrant and unique, which my art expresses.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I constantly have Blues music blaring throughout my house, car or bike. I hear a good lyric, I imagine a painting, I think about it in my head for a week or two. And when the timing feels right I do it... hours later painting might be done... or I need to stop, or I will go too far. I will come back to the painting to finish maybe a day later or even a month.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Music, the architecture of New Orleans, the Mississippi Delta, Soul Food, Second lines, conversations with strangers, my students, nature, my Mom, my Dad (I will often him feel him in the room with me while I paint)
Who are your artistic influences or gurus? Not sure if I have any... the art that my students make!
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work? I think we covered this one, Delta Blues always and forever!
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Walking along the Levee, in the swamps, in a thrift store, on my porch, on my neighbor's porch, in the kitchen (believe it or not, this Northerner knows how to cook some southern food), gardening, serving up Creole food on the weekends in the French Quarter. Yup, I also waitress, go to school working on my Master's in Special Education ), teach and paint.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year? I like evenings, that golden hour before the sun goes down towards the end of October on a Saturday.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact. I had headgear when I was 12, it was denim.