I’m an artist. I always have been. I think most people (if not ALL!) are too. But I am in the more literal sense, an “art” artist. I paint, I draw, I create lovely things for myself and others. And it makes me happy.
Before I introduce myself and give you my whole life story (😜) I will warn you that I do not write with proper grammar, punctuation or keep track of tense and rules. I just don’t care. I write the way I talk. So just go with it!
I was born and raised in south San Diego in 1984 and was a tomboy artsy fartsy awkward scrawny little cuss. I remember always drawing and doodling and coloring. Going to the craft stores with my mother who is a yarn addict and manipulator (aka crochet hooker!) and lusting after all the pretty colorful paint and paper and shiny things. I wanted it all!
As I grew and continued to find myself sitting in art classes, and then advanced art classes, and I found that I was often or always dissatisfied with the results of my work. I was told they were of good quality by my teachers and my family, but they were never right to me. I did pottery, basketwaving, painting, pen and pencil drawing, perspective landscapes, three dimensional models, clay figures and doohickeys and all sorts of other random media. And always frustration. I remember feeling that I was supposed to be able to create in a certain way. That I should be able to create painstakingly detailed pencil shaded portraits of people from memory. Or come up with goofy characters for an eventual best selling comic strip. Or maybe a never before seen fictional beast of amazing detail and creativity. I wanted to badly to be the kind of artist I thought I should be. But I wasn’t and that made me want to quit. So I did. For a long time.
I would get urges to create. I remember countless journal entries stating that I craved creation but felt like an empty source of creativity. As I sit here remembering those times I still recognize this same feeling of emptiness on a regular basis today, but have learned that with a short break the creative energy will return. But I did not know that then, or maybe I ignored my creative energy and assumed it was gone. Whatever the reason, I didn’t create art for a long time.
I did however fall in love with memory keeping and scrap booking which I think carried my creative energy and helped me feel that I was still creative. I had my first little one in 2008 and his baby book was so large from the photos and memories that it burst the seam and is held together with tape. This was an outlet that was creative for me but more importantly it was family bonding. I would get together with my sisters or mother or other friends and family and we would scrapbook and laugh and stay up late and reminisce on old photos or memories together. I now have three beautiful little ones and their baby books and photo albums are taking up a whole lot of space!
It wasn’t until about 2012 that I accepted my deep need to draw again. My husband was a medical student (which means I was a single parent!) and we lived very far from our family and friends and I was without my preferred method of creation for over a decade at this point. I was lonely and medical school was difficult on our young family and I needed to start giving myself something meaningful.
I would pick up my pencil and put it to paper and feel no impulse or direction. So finally I took to the internet. My friend the internet. Somehow I stumbled upon “zentagling” and began to doodle in this style. It is a forgiving style. Mistakes can be forgiven by transforming them into something good. Shapes and patterns and simple linework were easy for my mind to unravel. After weeks of this and feeling more happiness than I had felt in a long while, I wanted to start creating something of my own. Something more than just patterns and shapes (no offense to those that zentangle, it is a lovely style and I still do it occasionally!). Somewhere along this journey I found the lovely illustrations of Himadri Pachori. She uses zentangle style and organic textures to create amazing illustrations of leaves and feathers and flowers and all sorts of beauty. So I began trying my hand at zentangled feathers like her. I do admit that I used her genius as a crutch for a time. Until I could build my confidence and stamina. Over time I was creating one of a kind zen doodled feathers. I was beyond happy. I knew they needed work and I needed to crawl before I could walk and then run, but I was loving the forward movement.
After some time and more and more experimentation I beg and posting photos of my new found happiness on social media. Soon I was getting people saying they would love to have them as tattoos. I smiled and went on my way with their compliments but soon took them more seriously when my nephew actually did use one of my feather illustrations as a tattoo!
I started playing with floral and organic imagery and moved away from the heavy zentangle style over time. I noticed that my interest in organic shapes and elements made me look at the world around me differently. As if it was all potential creation for me. Everything was something I could doodle. Something I could add into an illustration.
After much consideration I decided to experiementally open an etsy shop in October 2013. I was shocked to get customers. I was delighted to be creating art for permanent application. I connected with folks from all over the world and they would give me their guidelines and I would create custom illustrations for them for tattoos, home decor, business logos and I even teamed up with a novelist named Piper Payne to create two very special and unique feathers for her debut novels, Breathing Black and White Lies.
I’ve been working non stop since and have had the privilege to make friends with fantastically creative and passionate people from all over the globe and have seen my illustrations on skin so many times that it is commonplace now.
In 2015 I chose to enter into the craft industry as an illustrator and designer. I sent my portfolio to a conference and was hopeful but not super expectant since I could not be there in person. A delightful friend of mine took my portfolio with her and represented me by passing out my cards, showing my work and talking me up. She brought me back contacts and potential team opportunities and I began making contact.
Shortly after the conference, in the spring of 2016 I was contacted back by a company called a Spellbinders Paper Art Co. about teaming up for a stamp line. I obviously jumped at the idea and we decided to team up! I have since lended my illustrations to them for four different stamp collections. The first collection will be set for release this fall or winter and the next will be in January of 2017. The rest and future collections will be released periodically throughout each year.
I am eager to grow as an artist. As much joy as I have found by creating tattoo art for lovely people I want to expand my reach and inspire others to create everyday. I want to spread the joy of creation to as many people as I can. I think creation is essential to happiness. Not necessarily drawing or painting, but creating memories, blankets, dinners, make overs, sculptures, gardens, friendships, novels, clothing, budget spreadsheets, chemical reactions, poetry, jokes, music, harmony, peace, love, ART! It is all art. Art is all things beautiful and hopeful and lovely and worthy. Go make art. Make art everyday.
i hope I have not bored you with this rambling story of mine. But I feel that I am very lucky to have finally rekindled my love for art and creation and I wish all who have neglected their inherent passions to seek those things again and to begin creating even if it is hard and the results are not perfect.