When did art become a pursuit for you?
I have been creating things since I was little and always have a sketchbook or a box of craft materials nearby. As an adult, I have developed a passion for mask making, puppet making, sculpture, and illustration.
Are you self-taught or formally educated in visual art?
I graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2016 with a BFA in Illustration.
How did you first become involved with ArtsWorcester?
In 2015, I was looking for art groups in the Worcester area and stumbled upon ArtsWorcester in my search. I have since participated in several shows, including the Annual “One” exhibition, and am a recipient of the Material Needs Grant for 2017-2018. With the support from the grant, I am creating a series of creature puppets and sculptures to be displayed in the upcoming year. This opportunity has been fantastic in helping me be able to experiment and build up my portfolio.
What medium do you currently work in, and how did you choose this medium?
I dabble in variety of mediums, but some of my favorites are puppet building, creature creation, and 3D illustration. Contrary to what it might sound like, my 3D illustrations are not rendered on a computer. Rather, I physically build a set or prop and then photograph it to create the finished piece, like a still frame from a stop motion animation. At the end of the process I technically have two illustrations – the finished photograph, and the physical scene or object. I also use watercolor, cut paper, clay sculpture, wood, metal, foam, and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on. I’ve never been one to just pick one medium and specialize in it, so I’ve ended up having at least a working knowledge of a large range of mediums. Combining them is great fun.
What is your creative process?
Every one of my pieces involves preliminary research. For example, one of the puppets I am creating with the Material Needs Grant is a large, flightless bird of my own design that sits on the puppeteer’s shoulder and back. Before beginning the fabrication process, I did a lot of sketching to figure out the design of the bird. I researched types and uses of bird beaks, different ways that birds move, and potential habitats. This creature is supposed to be of the mythical or magical variety, so I had a lot of leeway with coloration. Once I found a color combination I enjoyed, I then had to justify it. Using the coloration as a starting point, I researched different types of rocks and gems and linked my findings to the creature’s evolution. Researching in this way has motivated a lot of adjustments in my work, causing me to change plans as I learn more about what I’m creating. Some projects honestly seem to figure themselves out and gain more personality than I could have planned on my own.
How do you choose your subject matter? Are there themes that recur throughout your work?
I seem to lean toward things that are a bit whimsical: things that are kind of quirky and have their own personality. I also like to make work that is a combination of cute and creepy. In the past year, I have gotten into making what I call “Critters,” which are small, multimedia, animal sculptures that combine high-detail sculpted parts with fluffy faux fur. Each uses a mixture of realistic features while simultaneously acting as a caricature of the original inspiration. Generally they are perceived as adorable but some find them rather creepy. My puppets and 3D illustrations take a similar route, mixing realism with distortion.
What living artists are you inspired by?
Red Nose Studio is a big inspiration for me.
What other media or directions would you like to explore?
At this time I would really like to learn welding. I think it could be a lot of fun.