Q. How did you start your artistic journey?
A. My art journey started as a kid. It was something that
I enjoyed to do and I was naturally talented, naturally gifted with capturing things from life. So my art journey pretty much started with a pen and paper. A big part of my artistic journey, which I really have to give kudos to my mother was she always kept us attending the Newark Art Museum. So I grew up in the inner city, the most populated city in New Jersey. And there was just this huge history, birthing or like bedrock of culture. And it birthed a lot of famous musicians, famous artists, famous actors. So going to the Newark Museum, was a huge part of my childhood and I have a lot of fond memories there. So being an artist was something that I really took pride in. But it wasn’t something that I was really known for. And it wasn’t really a part of my identity.
I was really pushed to become a lawyer, to do something
more practical. So my artist’s journey, it really was something I was like private eyes, just writing in a journal.
Q.How would you describe your artistic style?
A. My artistic style is definitely expressive and colourful.
I really enjoy just the ability to sing and make this beautiful
harmony of colours in my work, no matter what I’m painting, whether it’s a landscape, a person or something completely abstract. I always want to convey this energy of hope and honesty through my work. And I think kind of straddling the fence between those two markers of optimism and honesty is really difficult at times. Sometimes I wrestle with this myself, how do I portray something in a beautiful manner that I feel is really complete but also authentic and raw.
Q. How has your art evolved over time?
A. My work has definitely evolved over time. I’ve just allowed myself to become more free as a painter. I think when I first started out, I really wanted to sort of prove to myself that I had this level of skill to make things look identical to a photo. And I think this is just something that was ingrained in me from college and high school classes. It was always this sense of like, there’s a wrong way to paint something and there’s a right way to paint something. And I used to get a lot of praise for getting it right. But when I started my studio practice, a lot of it evolved because I realised that even though I could get something right, I wasn’t really happy with my work, because it didn’t seem to answer the questions that I was struggling with as a painter. And those questions were, why does this work matter to me?, is it truly satisfying?, do
I truly feel seen and heard in this piece?, am I creating from a place of curiosity versus boredom? So that has been the biggest evolution of my work, going into the process with this childlike spirit and energy.
Q. What piece of advice would you give a young artist?
A. I run a eight week mentorship program and business
coaching service. And, there is a lot of advice that goes into that. But one of the things that has been sort of eye opening to me as a professor, and mentor to now hundreds of painters, is this idea of really connecting with your emotions in the process and honouring whatever you’re feeling. I think this is the most important thing I’ve learned as a painter, is being able to identify what paintings produce certain emotions in me so that when I am experiencing these emotions, I know how to place them.
Q. So tell me more about your online artist coaching
program. How has this changed you?
A. One of the main things that has changed within me is
just this recognition of my own energy, because a lot of the coaching is this deep kind of transformative healing energy and art therapy. I didn’t really know that people were coming to me for this type of coaching. So it was like I would market the program as I’m here to help you figure out how to make money, help you paint and learn how to do these things with confidence. But behind all that, the deeper foundation of that is people’s identities, stories, and the way that they connect these stories to their art.
Q. Where or what is your happy place?
A. I really like this question. My happy place? Honestly, it
looks like this sort of like Zen bubble. I have my essential oils. I’m really connected to nature. My body feels good. I have my blood flowing great. My digestion, my skin, is clear. I have some really nice music on and it’s just this beautiful harmony and flow between myself, my body, and my surroundings. I feel happy when I’m learning something new, when I’m well rested, and when I feel supported and guided, whether it’s from a higher power or from just the energy around me. That is my happy place.