The truth isn’t a destination; it lies in between; you have to read the cracks like runes.
For me, being an artist is being a trickster, provocateur, medicine woman, magician, spiritual traveler, jokester, and reveler. Now, more than ever, I surrender my thinking mind and let my hands take over. What comes out is often a complete surprise.
Since childhood, art, writing, music and poetry have been my enigma machine for knowing myself. Only through art did I have a voice. Only through art can I have the deepest dialogue with myself and my muse/s. Only through art can I experience a timeless connection with innumerable artists/artisans – often anonymous – who made magic with their hands throughout the centuries.
Art connects me to a prehistoric self beyond linear time: beyond any particular reality. I work in a spirit of continuity and reverence for those who came before.
My practice is to embrace the scraggly, overgrown, out-of-control jungle to find the order. I believe there’s no way around the chaos except through… and my work celebrates the through. So, I hack away with the machete, paintbrush or needle to reveal the beauty and truth lurking underneath and in between.
The dichotomy is that – for me – it often takes many layers to get to the essence. The pieces often want to grow beyond the their edges… like invasive plants… like moss or fungus. I respect their need to grow. The layers and stitches and beading are expressions of unconditional love. The process is intuitive, meditative and joyful.
My greatest influences include: The Venus of Willendorf; Six Persimmons of Wu Chi; drawings by Ingres and Degas; prehistoric cave paintings; Georgia O’Keeffe; Helen Frankenthaler; Milton Avery; Wassily Kandinsky, and any cast-off treasures I find on the street or in the trash. Of particular resonance is the refinement of Japanese art and the inspired worship of nature in Native American art.
But ask me again tomorrow… after I shift my shape!
Media & Methods
My greatest thrill is to find whatever I need lying on the street. If I receive such a gift, it gets used. I use anything and everything: bath mats, dish drainers, pans, colanders, lint, sponges, hardware, and all kinds of detritus… in addition to fabric, yarn, twine, beads, paint, glue and conventional art supplies. I uncover lots of treasures while walking along the Hudson.
My work integrates a lot of things given to me by friends. This can include anything from costume jewelry to plastic toy train tracks to red lint. This gives another dimension to my work that is more personal and has to do with generosity, love and sharing.
What I do is look for ways to juxtapose, connect and integrate the various materials; so, in a sense, I’m an engineer. I use whatever technique it takes to get one element to “talk” to another. Although I do have formal training in art, I “wing it” in terms of needlework, beading, or woodwork. The challenge is to figure out what works by trick or by trial.
The key elements are keeping your channels open, patience, persistence, and asking: “Why knot?” Respect for nature, re-purposing, and honoring the dignity of the materials are integral values. Joy in discovery is the animating spirit.