(or how my focus went to a place I avoided and found my voice)
My early college education was spent studying amongst the ghosts of Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo while living in Florence, Italy. Although it was profoundly inspiring, it also rocked my confidence—a double edge sword. It would take me years to appreciate the work I produced in Florence. It would take many more years before my creative voice was given air to breathe and room to grow.
In 2011, facing a plate full of uncertainty, I enrolled in a workshop at The Printmaking Center of New Jersey determined to approach a brand new medium and break through a creative block that had lasted many years. Although I spent a career as a graphic designer, I had not produced my own art for a very long time. Art had become something buried under the mire of living with a devastating and unpredictable degenerative disease: Multiple Sclerosis.
“My work became as much a meditation on process as it had a meditation on life. “
This time, pain and fatigue didn’t stand in the way. Instead, it became the inspiration for my work. I started looking inward—only to find a painfully dark place from which I could create—a place I had consciously avoided. Instead of pushing away the chronic disease, I embraced it as a vehicle to visually express my unique experience. I found out that I could transform my experience—something so personal—into a universal truth. My work became as much a meditation on process as it had a meditation on life.
Exploring new techniques, I used that which was familiar to me: photographs, scanned images, drawings and my own MRIs to inform my image-making. Delving into this imagery, I examine how the brain is a physical, tangible organ that is the home of the mind—a powerful, intangible, limitless entity. I question the many ways life can alter the mind—and how the mind has the ability to transcend limits to find a deeper, darker and even richer place to create.
I have expanded my self-expression, introducing other media such as drypoint, monoprint, oil, gouache and collagraph. I have introduced new imagery and textures, and focused my eye on reimagining existing plates. This journey has led me to seek more immediacy and less predictability, allowing for a more organic process. The crux of the work has never waivered: the work is about the exploration. My journey with MS launched my current creative direction. It guided me to an inner landscape of pain and joy, mourning and hope. It taught me acceptance and transcendence. It taught me to embrace what I cannot control. It taught me to focus on this moment, and to let it go. Transcendence has become my driving force, rather than the specificity of life with MS. MS and my Buddhist practice teaches me that pain and sorrow—and the goal to overcome them—are universal. Transcendence is the thread of my work that connects so many peoples’ stories. I plan on following that thread—allowing it to lead me through whatever dark and light it encounters–to discover everything I can along the way.