How did you get started doing what you do?
I spent many years keeping my artwork in a closet. One day my sister convinced me that I needed to show my work to others. Although this brought up many different feelings, eventually I signed up for ArtSpan open studios in San Francisco. Until that point, I had never been forced to think about where I stood as an artist. I had no expectations because I wasn’t sure how people were going to respond. When I acquired a new pen I started to discover a world of patterns, texture, and negative space. Now, I was able to create cleaner and smaller lines, which grew into patterns. I discovered that I was working with two images – the details people see when they see it up close and the image that appears from viewing the artwork from afar. Up close it’s like looking through a magnifying glass, it’s a place to discover a whole new world. From far away, the details converge to create an entirely different experience. I like to think that my art is an evolving conversation and a reflection of how I see the world. Whether you’re the viewer or the creator, you are a part of the conversation.
What’s your inspiration?
Being curious helps me reflect and be open to exploring whatever may arise. I am often most inspired when I am willing to submit. Things just begin to emerge in the moments when I am most challenged. When I recognize I have shut down, I find a defensive fear that surfaces, like when we find ourselves in a conversation we don’t feel intellectually or emotionally equipped to handle. I like to give that emotion space and watch what comes of it, rather than pushing it all away.
What is art to you?
Art has the ability to stop time and melt the moment. Art is creativity in action that comes in many forms. It can be a tool to bring about awareness. For me, art is a conversation; each piece is an intersection where our experiences come together. Every person is taking away something different. It is this larger conversation that inspires me to open up and share my art. It is the conversation that we are having at this very moment. For me, art constantly teaches me about myself and about my relationship to the world.
What does your typical day look like?
After the typical morning ritual, I meditate and began my day working on the business side of things. The rest of my day is spent working in the studio, collaborating, and consulting on different projects.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It often depends on the particular project and only the piece itself knows. It can take one minute or one hundred hours – I never know how long things will take until it is complete. Each piece adds to the next one. It has taken me a lot of time to cultivate the patience required to complete one of my pieces. Ultimately, time isn’t relevant once the pen hits the canvas.
How have others reacted to your work?
There are many different reactions. It’s always fascinating to watch people engage and interact with my artwork. Some people walk by without stopping, but most viewers are pulled in by the details. From far away the details create the texture that can’t always be seen up close. People are constantly moving back and forth to get the entire experience. They eventually approach me with questions like, “How do you have the patience to do this?”, “Do you wear glasses?”, “How long does it take?” That in itself lets me know that my art has touched them in some way. That is what this is all about. Overall, people seem to enjoy my work and are often amazed to find out it is all done by hand.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Be a warrior, keep a light heart, and be curious.
What’s your dream project?
I would love to get a commission to make a giant piece that would take a whole year to make. I would document the process through time-lapse photography and other media. It would be a dream to just focus on one project for a long length of time.
What art supplies do you use?
Pencil, Pen, paint, and any other medium the project or canvas tells me. I keep my ear tuned to the materials and continue to push the boundaries of my work into a variety of mediums. In addition to these physical tools, I also use a variety of contemplative approaches to help me work with my thought and drive the creation of my art. Right now pen and ink are my preferred tools, because with ink, each line is a commitment. If you make a mistake, there’s no going back – you have to work with what you’ve got.
What’s your process like?
90% Procrastination, 10% Drawing! Sometimes the best way to learn is to jump right in and make mistakes. I once had a teacher in class that used to say, “90% of meditation is getting to the cushion and 10% is sitting on it and actually meditating.” There are countless ways this applies to my life. The moment I get distracted is the moment the space opens up and I’m able to execute my ideas. Once the pen hits the paper, I’m there creating. The process is the journey.
How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
Collaborate and promote the industry as a whole.