ABOUT THE ARTIST
As a child, I would lay on my mother’s kitchen floor in Alabama and sketch for hours. My mother would take such joy in my work often saying to me “One day you will be an artist! You should most definitely go to school for art!” Needless to say, I didn’t take my mother’s advice. Growing up in Alabama we didn’t have art classes and in fact little to no exposure to art and I honestly didn’t really want to go to college. What I did know was that I wanted to get out of Alabama.
Shortly before graduating from high school my aunt convinced me to go to college to further my education by applying to Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama so I did, and I was accepted a few weeks before graduating. It wasn’t New York but to me, it was the big city. I eventually transferred to UAB and got my Bachelor's in Business. After college, I moved to Washington D.C. and received my MBA at the University of Maryland. I have worked in Human Resources Management for the past fifteen years and in my most recent role, I was the Chief Human Resources Officer at a Healthcare start-up venture with two former colleagues which required me to move back south to Atlanta, GA in the fall of 2015.
On January 20, 2017, I visited an art museum for the first time in my life at age 39. I attended the High Museum of Art for their Jazz and Art Fridays. I attended with a friend who had convinced me to go and we took our sketch pads because there would be a sketching session with a live model on the top floor where all the contemporary art was located. A soon as I walked into the museum I felt a sort of nostalgia. I was taken back to my childhood and that level of excitement I had when I would create my art on my mother’s kitchen floor. It felt like I was walking in a dream and if my friend had not been with me I may have even thought it was a premonition. We walked through the museum and gazed at all of the beautiful works of art. Getting so close to the painting to see the brush stroke the security guards asked me to step back several times. I was in my element. Each work of art spoke to me in its own way and I began to think that I had missed my calling. We made our way through the museum all the exhibits and up to the top floor where all the contemporary art was located. There was a large circle of chairs and a model stand sitting in the center. The model was walking onto the stand as we took our seats. I started sketching but wasn’t feeling my drawing so I flipped the page and started a new one. I wasn’t really feeling that one either so I decided to sketch a painting in the distance. Again I couldn’t get into that drawing either so I stopped and began to look at the model to see if there was something that I could zoom in on. Suddenly I felt this warm sensation go all over my body. I watched my entire life flash before my eyes. Then I began to see myself in what appeared to be my future state. Tears begin to roll down my face uncontrollably. I was all at once lost…but finally found.
As the tears started to come down my hand begin to sketch these jagged etchings all over the page. I was in a sort of trance. I was aware of everything around me but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t stop the tears nor could I stop the involuntary movement of my hand and honestly I didn’t want to. It scared me but I felt so safe almost like my mother was there embracing me and whispering “you are fine”. My friend asked me if I was ok; I replied that I was fine but that was all I could say. He then said we should go and I replied I can’t, all while the tears are pouring and I am starting a new page of these etchings. This went on for what seemed to only be a few minutes but the session was about an hour if I am remembering correctly. People began to gather around as they probably assumed I had completely lost it. As the session ended so did my tears and as the model stepped down my hand stopped. I had completed about 5 of these pages. I put my pad in my bag dried my eyes and left the museum after I found my friend who stepped away as I figured the whole thing made him very uncomfortable.
I have been calling it my artistic awakening. I left the museum that night and came home and could not rest--I had to paint. I had never seriously tried to paint before but I had some paint that I had purchased because I had been saying for a long time that I wanted to try it at some point. I had also purchased a canvass that probably had been sitting there for almost a full year so I begin to paint. I painted for hours probably until about 4 am. I wasn’t tired but I felt I should lie down. I went to bed and woke up the next morning feeling as if it was all a dream until I came downstairs and the painting was on the table. I began to cry again, this time in disbelief from the work of art that I had created. Since that day I have had a new thirst for knowledge and I even taught myself how to sew in less than a month. I paint or sketch every day at some point now. In July of 2017, my business venture went under and I was left to figure out the next phase of my life. I had lost everything financially but I had gained something that was way more valuable: MY CREATIVITY!
My artworks are reflective of my spiritual journey which has only just begun. There is a duality of light and dark that one must keep in balance and the key is dealing with the light and shadows of one's soul. This is how I create, drawing from the extreme moments of joy and the darkest trauma to create a visual feast. I don't boast several art degrees or awards and I don't claim to know everything about art but I know a lot about living. I create a world of color and amusement, I feel ultimately the art should draw you into it with a certain DEPth. Think back to when you were a child and what you were doing at your happiest. Art has given me the opportunity to create my very own world, so welcome to my second childhood.