Born and raised in Katy, Texas, a dedication and enthusiasm for the arts extends as far back as I can recall. My sincere devotion to drawing and painting is paralleled only by my interest in science, biology, and philosophy. However, in 2003, after one year of undergraduate work at The University of Texas at Austin, I broke my C5-C6 vertebrae in a diving accident, suffered a spinal cord injury and thus became paralyzed from the chest down. After a year of recovery and rehabilitation, it became apparent I would not regain use of my legs, abdomen or hands. Even though, the life I knew had changed forever, it did not sway me from pursuing my goals for the future. If nothing else, I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life intensely engaged with my first passion, Art. Therefore I returned to The University of Texas, and later completed both my BA and BFA in studio art. Currently, alongside my own studio practice, I teach underserved groups in the Houston Area in hopes to use art as a expressive healing tool.
Doctors and therapists often tell someone after a traumatic event, disability, or life altering event, “Find your new normal.” Therefore, I have learned to create work in a different way. I hold a brush differently. I use scissors differently. I even have limitations of surfaces I can use due to hand function, strength, and use of a wheelchair. However, all of these challenges have helped my artworks grow into deeply personal and uniquely “human” pieces.
My work mostly explores the body and how society responds to the human form. In my paintings and drawings; sexuality, grotesque beauty, body ideals, vanity, and the ambiguity between pleasure and pain are all common themes. I reference many of today’s popular media, including: magazine trimmings, Internet jpegs, medical book illustrations, and film stills. By experimenting with collage, composite layers, and superimposing images, I am literally able to deconstruct beauty and investigate how images interact. I often discuss memories & time, and how they inform the world around us (or our perception of that world). Masculinity, glorification of violence, growing up gay, gender norms and traversing boyhood into manhood all take on new meaning after a disability. My initial goal in my art making practice is to explore male-centric themes, but I strongly believe these topics cross social groups and speak to a universal struggle for acceptance, journey to celebrate our flaws, and embrace our differences.
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