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I grew up in a neighborhood situated just south of Hollywood shrouded under a brown layer of smog. Gas lines, disco roller rinks, and the conspicuous absence of seatbelts were some of the defining images of the 1970’s in Los Angeles. It was also a time of little parental supervision, as we rode our bikes or the bus alone. We had keys to our homes and stayed out after dark playing kick-the-can on the block with all the neighbors. I went to school with kids from every race, color, and religion located next door to a restaurant called “The Melting Pot.” It was a dirty, dangerous, and free time as cigarettes, scotch, and lady’s perfume generated the scent memory of my childhood. I loved to roller skate in my driveway, catch and release frogs and tadpoles in the stream by my house. Such were the oddities of L.A. that our suburbs were integrated into our city and the beach or mountains were all accessible with a short drive. Kids were left alone and unsupervised which afforded me endless hours for making art as well as sewing projects, crafts, and miniatures. This informed and affirmed my desire to be an artist. I remember thinking my life was fantastic, free and independent.


Around the fourth grade I had what is now diagnosed as Dissociative Amnesia. Severe trauma had caused me to disappear into myself. I had blacked out any and all memories of the abuse including everything I had learned in school up to that point. My body shut down to feeling and the unbridled joy of life ceased. I wore the same thing to school every day for a year and barely washed. Among the subjects I remembered having to relearn were my times tables and cursive writing. As a result, I decided to invent my own script. I hated the bubble “baby” scrawl my brain had reproduced as a result of relearning a task at such a late age. I suppose it was my first real act of performance art or fine art of any kind. My art is constantly informed by this amnesia. I repeat the lines in my art in a search for answers. If I draw these lines enough, maybe they will reveal, inform, or solve what went missing. Every time my maternal grandmother (who was also an artist) would see me, she’d ask if I was still painting those “lines.” She’d laugh and say that it showed dedication which was at least a redeeming quality to an otherwise ridiculous pursuit. I think it is possible I have now been painting lines in one form or another on and off for 25 years. 


I spent the 1980’s at an all girl’s school taking the sum total of art classes available to me. Owing to the caliber of the school, we had every discipline of art instruction imaginable. Among the classes I took were: photography, ceramics, painting, paper making, jewelry, life drawing, and sculpture. I learned how to throw, glaze and fire clay, cut and solder silver, and set stones. I was trained on a drill press and how to light a jewelry torch and could develop negatives and print photographs in the school’s dark room. I couldn’t get enough and often produced more than what was required for the letter grade. Working with my hands is what I’ve always loved. I often joke that my father had three sons but I got the toolbox for Christmas.


I applied to college in 1988 on a manual typewriter and shot images of my art using a 35mm camera also given to me by my father. Cardboard encased slides of my work were mailed off to my dream schools. To my complete surprise, I was accepted to every single art school I applied to. This luck of fate and my father’s promise to send me led to the Rhode Island School of Design. 


I arrived at RISD in the fall of 1989 and happily worked like crazy. As a Sophomore the students selected a major and I chose sculpture. But after a torturous year of misogynistic hazing and horrible critiques, I fled to the painting department. I was sad to leave the foundry behind where I had learned welding and bronze casting and secretly admired my two female friends who stuck it out until the end. My father begged me to switch into architecture or landscape architecture instead of painting. Not only was it a love of his, but he implored me that it might actually assure a job upon graduating. I took classes in the apparel department but my skills in pattern making and sewing were made ridiculous by my peers. If money had not been an obstacle, I would have stayed another 3 years and majored in another discipline entirely. In my estimation, there were too many things to study and certain classes were either impossible to secure a place in or didn’t fit into my schedule.


After I finished my degree in painting and graduated from RISD in 1993, I moved back to Los Angeles. Determined to be a fine artist, I took any work I could find while painting on the side. I worked at a sign shop, a bakery, as a teacher, for other artists, then graduated to working in an art gallery. I started showing my work any chance I got and joined a cooperative gallery. I even opened an art gallery with a partner; it didn’t survive the Great Recession. But through all the terrible jobs, I managed to find opportunities to exhibit my work even if the paintings were as yet unresolved and thematically thin. I had solo exhibitions at galleries throughout California including Cruz L.A. Gallery in Venice (which was the first gallery to represent me), the Irvine Fine Arts Center, and The Loft at Boritzer/Grey/Hamano gallery in Santa Monica. One of my early jobs as a workshop assistant transformed into a 25 year friendship and collaboration with master printmaker and founder of el Nopal Press, Francesco Siqueiros. One edition of prints, which he closely guided, led to being awarded the James D. Phelan Art Award in Printmaking and a three person show of the recipients in Berkeley, California. I took that award money and opened a bank account in New York where I lived for a year as a working artist until the cold and expense drove me back to Los Angeles. Other exhibitions included shows in Massachusetts, Madrid, and a couple of sold out shows with a new media gallery based in Brooklyn called Buy Some Damn Art (best name ever). A two-year residency at an artist collective in Valencia, Spain ended with a solo exhibition. I was profiled in the press as an American living in Valencia, Spain for “Three Years Without a Car”. After ending a 20 year relationship in 2015, I explored themes of domestic abuse in my marriage with a solo exhibition at Galleri Urbane in 2017. My most recent exhibition was an all female survey of printmaking at the Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum. Inclusion in issue #157 of New American Paintings reaffirmed that I am an artist and a painter. I feel honored to be recognized by a prominent curator after so many years of working alone.  


In addition to painting and printmaking I have in the past ventured into other creative disciplines such as clothing design, interior and exterior architecture, and landscape architecture. While these pursuits are not my main goal, creating art in all its forms has long been a passion of mine. As I continue to explore themes with my stripes, I’m working on different ways to offer the marks by translating them into landscape, objects or even mind-scapes. My goal is to use a play on words by turning vocabulary such as “Risible” into “Rise Idle” and translating that into imagery. I no longer want the stripes to only be an exercise in color and pattern making but to tell a story and to contradict the “Laughable” by “Rising” to the occasion and fight the urge to be “Idle”. I see what I want to create in the future as I work every day towards the willingness to let go of my past story and use art as an exploration of healing. 

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