top of page

…The throughline that seems to make its way into my work is the beauty of the human spirit and its immense capacity for change and transformation. In my earlier work, this came about through my peaked interest in the works of literature Paradise Lost by John Milton and Invictus by William Ernest Henley. They contained the energy of the Hero’s Journey archetype and the indomitable human spirit. Though Paradise Lost was about the fall of Lucifer, Milton positioned him in such a way that made him appear as a sort of warped hero or relatable in his tumultuous, emotional downfall at the very least. Henley’s feelings of our capability were clear when he wrote in Invictus: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” With this, my earlier work focused on the grit, perseverance, tragedy, but also victorious nature of transformation. Falling from great heights, undergoing incredible hardship, and having the wherewithal to choose to move through it and arrive on the other side differently, like a phoenix being reborn.

I often get asked about the blood—blood is a symbol for life, death, and rebirth. Blood has rich religious and cultural significance that come into play as well—it’s a representation of both sacrifice and initiation depending on the context. Chronologically, there is a tonal shift in my body work from the blood being more symbolic of the hardship we undergo, to it being a symbol of rebirth and indication of a new period starting. During this time of focusing on the hero’s journey archetype, I felt that there were missing elements. It had a structure and arch that was relatable enough. Something kept nudging me that there is more. I began to realize it felt heavily masculine in nature. I believe we all carry both polarities within us, so we can relate to each and notice when one is lacking or absent.

I was on the search for the feminine experience of transformation. I began reading works such as Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. The former being folk tales from different cultures and the significance that they have in each phase of a woman’s life spiritually, psychologically, and physically. The latter being a feminist retelling of classic folk tales that I found delicious, strange, and yet quite satisfying. So, I created the feminine counterpart to Bloody but Unbowed and Ascension with Give Me the Death I Need and Revelation. The large difference that I found notable was the masculine had to go out, find the darkness and conquer it, and the feminine had to go within, and as Hozier sings in Arsonist’s Lullaby, “don’t you ever tame your demons, always keep ‘em on a leash.” I think the feminine resolves to understand the darkness to keep it at bay rather than annihilate it in hopes that it wont ever return. Because the darkness never truly leaves.

Moving into the paintings that I refer to as “the Antler Series”—Growing Pains and Love or Death. This series was intended to represent the beauty and horror of change. The harshness and tenderness of being trapped inside an old identity or story. In order to move on from the stories that we’ve told ourselves, we have to first inspect why they appear in the first place and what involvement we have in keeping them alive. We have to meet this version of ourselves with compassion, so then we can begin to dismantle this cage that we’ve created for ourselves. I wanted to show the tension that is letting go of an old version of yourself to make space for the new to appear, through this visceral imagery of pairing antlers with the body.

For me, my work acts as a search for meaning and beauty during times of great discomfort and darkness, a search for the light, if you will. The work is intended to honor all that we overcome and to celebrate this complex process. I’ve noticed that I often resist change which I think is why I am so obsessed and enamored with this theme—with the power and potential inside each of us allowing us to be the hero in our own stories. I believe that our capacity for transformation is the closest thing we have to magic.

Updated: May 13, 2020

Many myths are the foundation of our societies and even philosophies. Personally, I have been taken by myths and fantasy since I was a little girl. During childhood, one can lose themselves in the alternate realities that narratives introduce. I spent most of my time in these other worlds because when I was not reading, I was daydreaming. The power and life force behind narratives touch us at the beginning of our lives and have the ability to influence the rest of our days. This is the power of narrative, of story-telling, and it continues to fuel my inspiration for my art practice. Recently, I have been very interested in comparative mythology, so naturally, I've begun reading of Joseph Campbell's work. This painting directed me towards this path.

Prior to working on Into the Great Deep, I had an interest in reading mythology and fantasy and wasn't sure if it would make its way into my work. Luckily, it did, and this is something that I want to dissect much further. Though I have not been able to produce as much work of this nature as I would like, I have huge plans for works that I am starting to create now. Their ideas were born with the one shown above and below.

This was inspired by the fall of Lucifer in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. To give you some background, Lucifer was the most beautiful and powerful of God’s angels and he reigned over the Heavens under God. After realizing the extent of his power and influence, Lucifer began glorifying himself for his own abilities. His humility continued to fade and he became envious of God’s power and disliked His plan for humanity. Lucifer, backed by an army of angels in support of him, rose up against God. They were cast out of Heaven and into “the Great Deep,” Hell, as consequence of their disobedience. According to John Milton’s retelling, Lucifer landed in a burning lake. In agony from being rejected by God, he was filled with anger and resentment and left to live eternity without God.

This was a powerful message to me, as I found so much humanity in it: facing rejection and the emptiness we hold after. So to portray this narrative, I wanted to employ a little intellectual gamesmanship in this piece and I chose my friend, Christian, to be the model. Not only is his name Christian, but he is also a devout Christian. He is a great example of someone who is led by humility and love. I asked him to assume the role of Satan, and I enjoyed the irony. Essentially, I asked him to trade in his humility for pride, his joy for pain, and his compassion for malice. There is a part in us, our shadow self if you will, that holds these dark, destructive feelings and emotions, though it is our choice if we decide to give into them, feed them.

Here, Lucifer is depicted after the Fall in all his vanity. I wanted his skin to feel hot, almost as if he was a hot coal dropped in water. In this way, I strayed away from realism, using only warm colors for his flesh and caustic network above him. I increased the contrast within the caustic network (the pattern created by the water) to communicate a sense of otherworldliness and it almost seems as if his body is undergoing transformation.

When I took the reference photos of Christian, I took ones with him in water and also ones with him covered in “blood”—fake blood that I mixed. This was done because blood is a unique symbol that has many connotations, such as: sin, salvation, sacrifice, life, and loss. The shoot produced great results, so I plan on making a series from the images. Here is a little peak into my next projects, below.

First and foremost, humans are story tellers. We love to hear a good story and we love to tell one. We create narratives that help us makes sense of the mystery and tragedy of life. My intention in my art practice is to continue to study these myths, truths, realities, and dissect them within my work. I want to represent one man’s reality and another man’s myth.

bottom of page