Photo Credit below:
Charlie Cummings Gallery
My ceramic sculptures and vessels present stories about my childhood, family and my time and struggles as a homeless and disabled person. I use surface imagery to function as a diary to record people, places, and events. Sgraffito, screen printing, and laser decals are used to create the portraits and or narratives on the surfaces to start conversation among the viewers.
My research began with life experience. I spend most of my life running away from bad situations and memories. I was always looking for a change for the better but it mostly seemed not to work out. In 2010 after battling with injuries and illness which lasted a very long time, I found myself homeless. This is where unknowingly, my research continued. I lived in a homeless shelter for 8 to 10 months. This is the moment where I decided I needed to do something to change my life, so returned to school. In my local community college is where I discovered clay. As hard as working with clay can be on a person’s body, for me at the same time it was therapeutic. Clay saved my life. I know it sounds so cliché, but it truly did.
My work is a gateway to bring attention to homelessness, disability and the traumatic stress that both can bring. It also speaks of the strength I and other women I met on my journey had. I draw directly to my surfaces leaving part of me on each piece. My goal is for the viewer to connect with the drawings or figures to the point of empathy or even sympathy.
I make both functional and sculptural work. I go back and forth from both because what I want to say may call for one or the other. For Example: In the cup titled “Never Give UP” I chose this imagery for a cup because the phrase calls for a form that one uses every day. We all have certain situations that calls for not giving up. On the other hand, I have a piece called “Public Hygiene”. I didn’t feel it belonged in function. I wanted to show the actual leg inside the public sink with the names of women all over the piece. The names represent women that had to deal with the lack of privacy when they had to take care of something as simple as their personal hygiene in a public place.
My long-term goal is to work with my community. I want people like me that come from places like where I have lived, to have someone that understands but also encourages them to believed they could do anything they set their minds to. If one person can see my work and it sparks a sense of fight in them, I am doing something right. I want to teach at risk children and adults about art and how to work with clay or other materials to express and maybe find themselves.
Clay is my go-to material. Pottery and Sculpture is how I choose to deliver my ideas. To me clay is a material that can become personal. You put your hands in the clay and your fingers get lost in the mixture and for a moment, you become one. I stretch pull and form shapes to turn my ideas into something permanent that people can always look at and never forget because they could always revisit the piece.