Briefly describe the work you do.
I am a graphic designer, a photographer, an artist, and a writer. None of these dilenations stay neatly contained within their own category, instead my work in one area bleeds into another. My design work balances the beauty of white space with the excitement of color and typefaces, sometimes veering off into the fine art realm, subverting it’s intention to communicate. My photographic work focuses on representations of the botanical in unexpected forms that occasionally transform into graphic interpretations. My personal artwork does the same, blurring the lines between text and mage, making them into some unusual hybrid of the two, no clear line where one ends and one begins.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
Whenever I am posed this question I always think about my childhood. My mom is a graphic designer and my father is a photographer and educator. I grew up with a heightened awareness of art and design, my Sundays were spent going to museums in Washington, DC, our house was filled with art and photography books, strange plants, pieces of art, bones, smooth stones, found objects, my mom’s paintings. This background has influenced me strongly in the regard that I oftentimes am more interested in transgressing the lines between art and design, than following within the preconceptions that these fields entail. I am interested in where they overlap and blur. A lot of my work when I was younger literally collaged elements of design and photography together, now my work blurs the distinctions between the two through making design work that plays with intentionality and photographic work that becomes graphic representations.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio practice is mainly digital, which allows me to work wherever I can. My studio moves with me wherever I am, which I think is a unique way of working in today’s world. I am not attached to any specific place or setting, instead it is a malleable space that I create when I begin working. This can entail playing music, drinking tea, making lists on a pad of paper around me. I build my studio around me instead of being tied to a specific physical space.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I am a design educator, I teach at the college level at a small, liberal arts college. Although the role of educator is one that I anticipated when I decided to go into education, I didn’t realize how I would also continually be a student in my own classes. For example, each year I teach a 2D Design course. The semester I teach it, I see a recipricole relationship between the concepts I teach in class and the work I create during that semester. Even though I am teaching the most basic principles, I find that I learn them in different ways each semester, I find different, more complex ways of applying them, of considering them as an artist.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I work full time as an educator and I have a two-year-old daughter so I find every spare moment that I can to make art. I have always tended to work the best in the morning, I can’t work at night or when I’m overly tired. I find moments inbetween projects or when I have a lull in the classroom and can do some quick work in Photoshop or Illustrator.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
This is a really interesting question for me because I’ve seen a significant change in my work just in the past year. The new work I’ve been engaged with focuses very specifically on color and form. Color is a whole new world for me at the moment, I’m trying to surround myself with it as much as possible. I look for vibrant, intense color combinations and methods for applying color gradients and transitions. Previously, my work was very dark and muted, both literally and metaphorically.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Family has always had a huge impact on my work. So much so that I have created an entire photographic body of work that focuses on the concept of “home”. This summer I had a wonderful experience collaborating with my husband, who is a musician. I created a series of graphics for his songs simultaneously as he created the songs that the graphics were based on. As a song changed, the graphic would change. It was really exciting, refreshing work that paved the way for my current body of work, All the Shine.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I couldn’t be anything besides a creative, I’ve found that I really struggle with anything that doesn’t allow me to stretch myself creatively.
She holds a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design from Meredith College, Raleigh, NC and an MFA in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.
She has exhibited and published both nationally and internationally. Her fine art work focuses on the botanical realm as a space to manipulate and transform. She has given numerous lectures and workshops on both photography and graphic design.
She is an Associate Professor of Art at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. She is the coordinator of the graphic design and fine art photography programs. She has previously taught in the first year photography program in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). In addition, she also taught in the School of Design and in the New Media program at RIT.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.