How did you get the idea for this piece?
I chose a garden theme primarily because the theme of the exhibit was “In Bloom”. Also, I thought it would be appropriate subject matter given that birdbaths are often found in garden settings.
What would you like the viewer to think about or see here? Message?
I want to make the viewer smile and feel happy and cheerful. I painted an allover design on the birdbath to be seen from every perspective so that even if you were a baby in a stroller or an extremely tall adult, you didn’t miss out on the experience.
I first painted the green leaf shapes and then surrounded them with blues to convey both sky and water. Because the sculpture itself was a flower, I didn't feel the need to repeat it in the design. I decided to suggest flowers by using their own vivid colors to represent them. The message is contained in the flowing forms. The harmony of the spirals that begin at the end of each plant stem and the interacting waves show how everything is connected and influences everything else.
The whole time I was painting it, I kept envisioning the birdbath outside a snowy courtyard on a gloomy winter's day, promising the return of spring. It is my hope that it ends up being auctioned to an establishment where people could directly benefit from it, like a hospital or nursing home. I feel that this piece has the capacity to lift spirits and help in the healing process.
Tell me something about how you became an artist.
Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” I never grew up, I still maintain a sense of wonder and interact animatedly with the world around me.
As far as the technical part of things, I’ve been doing some form of artistic expression my entire life, including drawing, crafting, writing and photography. I received my BFA in Illustration from Northern Illinois University and studied painting in grad school. After college, I went to work as a graphic designer, and later I went into photography. The last few years I’ve been painting and doing a lot digital work with my own photos and artwork.
I chose to use acrylics on this project because of their speed in drying. When I painted the birdbath, I would work on more than one area at a time. Because of the 3D form, on occasion I rubbed up against an edge of fresh paint and smeared it. So then naturally I had to let it dry and repaint the area.
Why do you choose to work in this particular medium?
My sponsor for the project was Sharpie. Ideally, the people at Sharpie would have liked it done with Sharpie markers but ink is not lightfast and the colors would eventually fade over time with prolonged exposure in the sun. They had four specific things that they wanted incorporated in the design: it had to be colorful, bold, free flowing and original. I outlined the base design with Sharpie markers and painted with colors from their product palette.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to be an artist?
I advocate going to art school and learning as much as you can. There are some really incredible self-taught artists out there but an education exposes you to different ways of creating. In my personal experience, I had one professor who was a purist about painting and forbid us students to draw anything, not even a single line, on the canvas. This forced me to grow as an artist and develop a painter’s mentality.
If you were describe your art, what you create in one sentence?
I would describe my art as colorful, creative with an innovative vision.