I was born and raised in Waco, Texas. The culture in rural Texas is very much as you would picture in movies; people drinking beer, fishing, riding pick up trucks, and most people love hunting. I didn’t really have any resources for art. I moved to Austin, Texas not long after I turned 18 and found an interesting world there. Art was plentiful and easy to access. Although after going most of my life being told that art was for “snowflakes” I was hesitate of doing anything art related. I ended up spending my days in Austin as a frustrated punk rocker who drank all the time. I didn’t even use any of the resources for art nor did I reach out to any of the art communities. My cultural background left such a huge imprint on me that it took a long time to shake off.
Right before my 25th birthday, I moved to Denver, Colorado. I moved there to attend university and pursue a degree in anthropology. Before leaving Texas, I began to experiment with painting animal bones and creating them into art pieces. This desire followed me when I arrived in Denver. In between my studies, I began creating pieces that involved animal bones and other materials. My focus in the university is a field called zooarchaeology, which is the study of animal bones in an archaeological context. When discovering this field of study I felt like I found my true calling. It felt like my art and scientific research bled together. It was the first time I felt like I found myself in both art and science. I began working in a zoology lab and had the opportunity to learn about the bones I had been painting for several years. It made my passion for zoology and art flourish.
I loved my work, however I didn’t know how to get past a certain point in my art. I noticed I was creating so many pieces, yet I started to lose space on where to keep them. I also didn’t know how to get my art work exposed to larger audiences. Nor did I have the confidence to begin compiling a portfolio and CV.
I first discovered the group Go Push Pop several years ago. This lead me to finding Ultracultural Others. I was extremely drawn to this groups work, especially the goddess and yoni worship that their art displayed. The connection between the family in their photos also gave me a feeling of community before I ever met them. After reading a call for applications for their residency, I felt I had to apply. Not long after I was accepted, I spent six months traveling through Europe and North Africa. During these travels, I found new inspiration for my artwork and also a new sense of confidence that I didn’t have before. I settled in Cairo, Egypt for three of these months and I began creating more art. However, it still felt like something was missing.
I left Egypt and came to New York City to complete my residency with Ultracultural Others. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when arriving. All I knew was that I was lost in this art world and I needed some guidance. I took two courses with Or Nah High Priestezz (Katie), where one was called Yoni (Pussy) Whispering. This course dove into goddess and yoni worship and different archaeological evidence of this in the past. We also discussed how it is being practiced in modern ways. I felt like I was learning another side of archaeology, a side that was never taught in my classes. In the university, we were always focused on the male perspective. This helped me find strength in my own self from seeing what my foremothers have given to this earth. It helped me find a new narrative in life that has given me new meaning in my field of study. I also took a brief course with UNDAKOVA (David) that focused on how to get out of the starving artist routine. He discussed with me better ways of looking at my art and skill sets. He showed me ways of turning my skills into potential money making opportunities. I felt a new sense of hope of not having to work one shitty job to the next just to pay my bills. These jobs usually left me so tired, it would take all of my energy to complete any art work. Now I have the resources to complete my art on my own terms and pay my bills.
My residency ends in less than a week. I will be presenting an art installation I completed during my time in NYC at an event hosted by Ultracultural Others and their partner studio De-Construkt. I will also be giving a performance with this piece as well. I lived in the studio space of De-Construkt, which had the space I needed to work on my installation. For artists who work on large pieces such as myself, you need this type of space to properly execute these pieces. I feel confident and prepared for my upcoming performance. The art installation and performance I have been working on was an idea I had in mind before I left Denver six months ago. After my travels and working with Ultracultural Others, I feel like I have the tools I need to be the artist I’ve always wanted to be.