A Proper Introduction
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
Welcome to my work! I always wonder what people think of my art. It’s a curious thing- as an artist you create work that you love and hope others love, and then you send it out to a gallery or online, and you never quite know what people think of your work. To one person your art could be powerful and inspiring, or hardly noticeable to another. Art is perpetually humbling, especially as God is the ultimate artist.
I feel it’s proper to introduce you to who I am, and to give you a bit of background on the events and mentors that inspired my work.
I was born in Manhattan, New York, which is perpetually a source of pride. To me it speaks to the courage of my parents, who met in church in the Big Apple. My mother had come to New York as a 19 year old to work as a nanny. My 21 year old father had a scholarship at Pratt Institute. They had lived parallel lives in Utah but only ended up meeting and marrying each other by way of New York. By the time I came around my mother had graduated from Hunter College with a degree in art history, and my dad was on his way making a career in illustration.
My very first drawing lessons were in church. My father would keep me occupied by drawing half a face, and it was my job to draw the other half of the face. I always wanted to be as good as my dad, and it sparked a fun competitiveness that I have thrived on throughout my life.
When I was about five my family moved from New York to Bountiful Utah. I grew up in that beautiful place, and I am deeply grateful for the peace and security. Growing up my mom and dad challenged me to be competitive and to enter as many competitions as I could find. I also grew up with a lot of sayings that became important throughout my career as an artist, things like “Great art is 97% hard work, 2% talent, 1% luck.”
Something I didn’t quite appreciate until later on was the importance of critiquing my art. It was both dreadful and wonderful to show my parents a painting or a sketch, and to see what they thought. We later termed these critiques the “blood pact” in which we had to swear to be perfectly honest in what we thought of each other’s art. I shed many tears after spending hours and hours on a painting only to hear from my dad that the portrait I was painting looked cross-eyed. However, without those critiques over the years, I would never have been able to look at my art critically. I wouldn’t have been able to adapt and improve in order to create even better art than I had before. Surprisingly, the “blood pacts” ended up being a lifeline to my art, inspiring resilience, progress and confidence that I could perpetually improve.
High school was a wonderful turning point with art. It was the hinge where I started to see that my art might turn into a career. I sold my first painting in a gallery at the age of 16, and won the State Sterling Scholar award my senior year of high school, which provided for a scholarship to a university of my choice. I was accepted into the Illustration Program at Brigham Young University. I loved my time there. I loved the whole environment of BYU.
Through BYU I was able to go on study abroad programs with the Studio Art program to England and Italy. Those studies abroad were vital to developing the style and textures in my work, and it was in Italy that I found my true love for creating religious art. I wanted to continue the tradition of Christian art by adding contemporary faith and figures.
After Italy I decided to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in gorgeous southern England. It was a wonderful and difficult and incredibly rewarding experience. It provided the stories and meaning behind my work. A after returning from my mission I finished at BYU with a Bachelors of Fine Art degree.
A few years after graduating I met the love of my life. I had always sworn that I wouldn’t marry an artist, or a jock. First of all, I was artsy enough (and weird enough) for a whole village and didn’t need any more art. Secondly, I hadn’t met too many jocks that loved art. So, as things go, I married a jock/artist, a category heretofore unknown to me, but absolutely perfect. It has been a joy to be married to him.
About two years after we got married we moved to Washington State. It has been a great adventure and an inspiring experience to live in the Pacific Northwest.
So that’s me! I hope you gained something useful - because at the end of the day, this entry only matters if it helps you, the reader, in some way or another. The same goes for my art- it is only of importance if it helps you find greater faith, come closer to God, or feel more at peace in yourself and the world.
Wishing you the very best,