What’s a day in your life like?
Fairly average, for the most part. When I’m not at work, I’m usually sipping coffee with a friend or spending quality time with my own thoughts. I probably daydream far too much, but it’s those little relaxation points in my mind where images start to flash in front of me, and I find those little sparks that make me want to create something.
What artists or things inspire you most?
I don’t know that I can name any one artist in particular that inspires me, my tastes change pretty frequently, and I love a large variety of different styles. What really inspires me is nature. There’s just something about tree branches, vines, leaves, and the textures you can find in grass, bark, or wood that really intrigues me. I grew up exploring the outdoors quite a bit, so nature holds a very special place in my heart.
How did you get into art?
Art has always been a big part of my life. I can remember even from a young age always having the urge to draw and color. In elementary school I would enter daycare coloring book contests, or offer to draw portraits of other kids in the playground. In high school I got more serious about art, and spent most of my time doodling in notebooks until I was graced with a Wacom Graphire 3 and Photoshop Elements at around the age of 15-16.
I would stay up all night drawing and painting with my tablet, even if I had to be up for school at 5:30 the next morning. Going to art school wasn’t an immediate decision for me after high school, much to the surprise of many of my friends and family. At the time I entertained an almost equal love of the medical field, and initially went to college to be a nurse. However, I soon changed my mind after the first semester and decided that I would just go for it and switch to the art program, and the rest is history.
Where or how did you learn your techniques?
I guess you could say my techniques come from years of trial and error, and a lot of tutorials and observation. Learning to use Photoshop and Illustrator was a little hard for me at first, so I took advantage of the many great resources around the internet.
Trial and error was the best tool for me, though. You’ll never know how it looks or works until you try it, and if it doesn’t work out, then you know what not to do the next time! Art school was also greatly helpful for me, as I lacked a lot of formal knowledge despite the fact that I had been practicing art for so long before college. Having that formal knowledge was incredibly helpful and
greatly furthered my art, but I still experiment nonetheless. My techniques are constantly developing and changing, and each time I find something I enjoy, it goes into my little mixing pot of tricks to pull out later.
What music do you like to listen to while creating?
Usually whatever sets the tone for the image I’m working on. If I’m creating something sad or somber, I’ll listen to music that’s very
emotional. Or if I’m creating something that I want to look very uplifting and exciting, I’ll tend to listen to more up-beat and fast-paced music. Basically, I use music as a tool to manipulate my mood to better suit the feeling that I want to portray.
How do you feel that art/design relates to the cause you work so hard for?
I feel that art and design are an amazing tool for opening the eyes of others. In my art, I like to give a sense of comfort or nostalgia, which for me is a very important thing to be in touch with. My hope is that when other people view my images, I am giving them an opportunity to see things through my eyes and feel the things that I do.
What are some of your favorite topics (or projects)?
I don’t really tend to focus on any one topic specifically. If anything, I’m rather notorious for bouncing around. I guess it could be
said that I focus on feelings a lot. Not necessarily specific issues or statements, but just the way something makes you feel.
What are some of your biggest challenges you face as an artist?
For me, some big challenges I face are staying motivated and maintaining confidence. I’m sure every artist struggles with the same issues on some level. Over the years I’ve definitely noticed that my level of confidence (something I have always struggled with) greatly effects my level of motivation, and vice versa. If I let one slip, I tend to stumble into a serious case of artists’ block, which can take me quite a while to get out of.
Do you have any projects on the horizon we should be looking out for in the future?
I’ve wanted to do a series for some time based on some of the childhood experiences I had while growing up in Maine. Those memories offer a lot of imagery of rocky beaches, deep woods and raccoons stealing minnows from my orange juice strainer that I used to use as a net. I think that the impending cool temperatures will be enough to inspire me to continue with the idea.
Do you have any interesting hobbies or tales of intrigue?
I don’t know if it would be considered an “interesting” hobby per se, but I enjoy collecting memories of childhood. I have most of the stuffed animals I had as a child, books, blankets, rattles, even the little rainbow colored stacking cups I played with as a baby, and I continue to collect things that bring back feelings of nostalgia for me- I guess I have a little trouble letting go of the past.
Tamagotchis and Giga Pets, for some reason, are a rather large part of my collection. That probably sounds really silly, and I’m not really sure why I feel need to have them, because I usually let them “die” after playing with them for a day or so. I couldn’t even begin to count how many I’ve had over the years, aside from the ones that I’ve saved.
Never stop creating. No drawing is a bad drawing, no stroke of paint is a waste. Everything you do is a learning experience, and the more you do, the more you will grow.
Even if it’s just doodling in a sketchbook or a napkin, it will still help your skills develop, and will also help you to stay motivated.
Any shout outs?
I’d love to give a shout out to one of my professors in art school, Joan. She always encouraged me to experiment, steered me in the right direction when I was struggling, and made me feel that I had the potential to do great things even when I was disappointed with a recent project or felt like I didn’t have it in me anymore. She always really went out of her way to help us grow as artists and as people- and for that, I will always be grateful to have been her student.