My work for the past several years has been influenced by my life as an educator and working and living with animals. I am often compelled to include some information in my art. It is the way the information is presented that I find the most creative and enjoyable challenge. For me, art making in and of itself is a lifelong joy, but it is also an unspoken communication with the viewer. How do I take the things that mean the most to me and present that in a way that invites curiosity and inquisitiveness? In short, how do I get the viewer to wonder about it?
Part of my creative process is bringing to life my observations of our natural world and our place in that world--how we affect it, how we re-shape it, how we are connected to it, and how we become disconnected from it. I have a lot to say about that and I explore the ideas in several different media including: mixed media painting, illustration, mural design, box assemblage sculptures, collage, photography, re-purposing, and fiber arts.
My work has evolved over time and continues to evolve as I live and observe the world around me. Making and creating art allows me to speak to that part of my conscience, giving ownership to my particular vision. I may speak to a particular issue or social cause that I am concerned about, or I may create a reflection on something I've observed, or I may create a piece with humor, or I may pay an homage to a piece of favorite literature or artist; truly, it's a rabbit hole I never tire of exploring.
And there is so much to explore, isn't there? I wish I had had better instruction in the science arts as a child, but I have made up for some lost time since then. In college I chose geography as my science elective and a whole new world became open to me (sorry, couldn't resist!). It was then that I started to make the first deep connections between the physical natural world and my place within it. As a working adult, I furthered my scientific studies by becoming a volunteer educator at the Memphis Zoo. While already an amateur birder, learning about other species' biology, adaptations, and their ecosystems only deepened my respect for life on planet Earth. It wasn't until I began another course in mindfulness meditation that more connected puzzle pieces fell into place. I'm a big Neil deGrasse Tyson fan and I think his quote on our connections really sums it up beautifully, "We are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically...We are in the universe and the universe is in us."
What can I do about anything happening in the world? I'm not sure, but I do know that I can respond to situations through my work. I can help others to see our connections, I can began a process of begetting, and I can use the best of my abilities to help facilitate a dialogue about our amazing world. And it is amazing, is it not?