Q: When did you first have an interest in art?
A: I think it was the second grade. Our teacher had us draw a portrait of the person sitting across from us in class. Something clicked- I really liked doing it and drew a tremendous amount of satisfaction from it.
Q: So what did you do about it?
A: Most of my foundational training took place in the public school system. I was identified as having a talent for drawing- that is, looking carefully at an object or person and then representing it on paper. My parents encouraged me by sending me to summer camps with an emphasis on the arts. And my teachers were wonderful- my first drawing teacher, Jackie Locke, took me on a personal guided tour of the National Gallery in D.C. That was life changing.
Q: So you feel the direction you were given early on was very important?
A: Absolutely. I think the visual arts are a language, just like English or French. The younger you can connect with children the more they can assimilate in their lifetime. And the more outlets they have for emotional and artistic growth. I feel very fortunate.
Q: You live in Las Vegas now, how did growing up on the East Coast affect your work?
A: There was the proximity of the National Gallery. I grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, so I really got to see what life was like for the early colonists. And Virginia embraced the arts- I put together my first portfolio when I was 15, and submitted it to the Governor’s School for the Gifted. That was also life changing. It was a summer program located at Mary Washington College dedicated to the visual and performing arts. I got to meet working artists at a young age and see what their lives were like. It was a huge benefit. And I think on a very deep level I decided to work another job so I could create art in the manner I feel is most fulfilling.
Q: Was drawing your main interest when you were growing up?
A: No. I also studied classical ballet. It taught me so much about discipline and determination. And it helped years later when I went “back to school” and studied life drawing at the university level. Dancing gives you a great sense of anatomy, of rhythm, and movement. So now I explore that in my painting.
Q: Who inspires you most as an artist?
A: Anyone who totally commits themselves to their craft and art form. I’ve learned a great deal from Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, all of the painters from the New York School in the 1940′s and 50′s.
Q: What is special to you about the New York School?
A: They did two very interesting things. That “scrappy little band” as they were called, really pulled the center of the art world from Europe, namely Paris, to New York. And they each had a distinct and personal way of expressing themselves which has allowed artists the freedom we enjoy today.
Q: What has been your most satisfying achievement in your career to date?
A: Again, I feel very fortunate. I’ve had the pleasure of curating a show. That’s a tremendous commitment. It was the story of Abstract Art in El Paso, Texas, titled “Beauty in the Abstract”, and it was shown at the Chamizal National Memorial- the first time the National Park Service has shown Abstract Art. And seeing my work hanging in New York, in a juried show, because I feel so connected to the painters that worked there earlier. Having two back to back one-woman shows in El Paso was a lot of work but it was great and stretched me as an artist- no pieces were shown in both places. One was an invitational from the El Paso Art Association in their Crossland Gallery, and the other was held at the North Gallery of the International Museum of Art. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to a place where I had grown so much as an artist.
Q: And what brings you to Las Vegas?
A: Potential. Actually, my husband had a great job offer and we are very excited about it. And it’s a great time to buy real estate in Nevada. I’ve always liked the energy here. Unfortunately the bad economy has hit hard. Access to historical visual information is difficult, and that’s tremendously hard on both young artists and collectors that want to learn. I’m hoping that will change. By opening my first gallery I am making a huge commitment to the area, but we have an agreement that this is the last stop, no more pulling up stakes.