The three works I have chosen from 2017 represent the person I want to be. Fighting against societal norms and the human condition can be a constant struggle. My paintings are ultimately a way for me to taIk to myself. Sometimes literally battling against a voice saying "make it to the top" ... "be great" ... "do it all yourself" ... "ME ME ME." When I follow that voice, it usually leads to a place of self centeredness, ego, and frustration with the world around me. When I focus on "we" I find peace. When I focus on the things that matter... the moments, friendships, loved ones, family, life is good. Things fall into place.
In 2017 my work was inducted into a public collection (Iowa State University) where I was also summoned to give a lecture. This was an incredible honor for me, as I am a highschool dropout with a GED who once lived in a homeless shelter strung out on opiods. In 2017 I also completed a residency in Athens, Greece volunteering with Syrian refugees. I went on to paint a body of work which exhibited at Contra Gallery in NYC this past November. I donated a portion of proceeds from sales to the foundation I volunteered with, CIRCUSAID. In my experience the people who connect with my work are people who have been through trials and tribulations like many of us have. People with big hearts. It is my hope that winning this award will put my work in front of more people like that. To push the wheel forward and to open new doors for everyone connected to the work.
Thanks for the opportunity.