I am considered to be a "contrary." I don't follow directions or advice very well. My parents told me my artwork was "cute" and felt it to be frivolous, certainly not a serious path. My art professors hated my work. They flunked me, until I agreed to change majors. Overall, I had very little encouragement. Well, lack of family support and failing grades did not dissuade me from pursuing my passion. So, here I am.
I've never been one to settle into one particular style or medium, even working as a tattoo artist for a period. I enjoy exploring a range of art forms and materials. As such, acrylics, pastels, inks, graphite, charcoal, watercolors and colored pencils have all been utilized to create figurative studies, wildlife illustrations and pieces that refuse to fall into a genre.
Ever since my first life drawing class in college, I have loved creating portraits and female figurative pieces. To me, there is nothing more classically beautiful than a tasteful nude. The play of light on the curves and contours offers a great challenge. And every woman, regardless of race, size or age, has a unique beauty that should be celebrated.
I have been influenced by many sources, cultures and artists over the years. I always appreciated the Japanese woodblock prints, which led me to the art of Patrick Nagel and Dennis Mukai in the '80s and '90s. The pin-ups of Olivia and Vargas are also favorites. As far as classical influences, Degas, Mucha, Klimt, da Vinci, Renoir, van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec, Modigliani and others have been studied and certainly have added to my current styles of painting and drawing.
As far as Native crafts, I respect the spirits of the animals whose parts I transform into one-of-a-kind bags, weapons, jewelry and pieces of authentic regalia. They are honored; and nothing is wasted. Bones, fur, leather, rawhide, feathers are all appreciated and used. I also flint-knap stone arrowheads and blades, using the old techniques and only aboriginal materials. Our so-called "primitive" cultures all had wonderfully ornate everyday items. Why can't we have that as well?
Being part Cherokee primarily drives my ethnic portraits and Native crafts. I am also proud of my Finnish, German, French and English ancestors. You find similar items created by European cultures, as well as in Africa, Scandinavia, Asia and Australia. When I say "Native," I really am drawing inspiration from the world, not just North America. I want to showcase the beauty and racial diversity in our world.
As a shamanic practitioner, I also enjoy making custom leather masks. Our ancestors utilized masks in rituals and religious ceremonies; for sympathetic magic while hunting, and for communing with the spirits. I soak and mold the leather, carving and cutting it until I get the desired contours. They are then completed with paint, fur, feathers, whatever the individual piece tells me it needs to come alive.
I also occasionally carve and sculpt. I've used Polymer clay, ivory, wood, bone and stone, As I said before, I don't fit into one particular slot. That would be boring for me. Enjoy!
I sell originals on this site, as well as in the finer galleries around Winston-Salem, NC. The creation of prints from any works shown can be arranged, if desired. And, of course, commissions are welcome. Just ask.