I was born in Washington, DC and raised in Prince Georges County, Maryland. I attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art and the University of New Mexico, where I received a Bachelor’s degree with concentrations in art and architecture. Following school, I lived and worked in a variety of geographical locations before settling in New York City. I lived in New York for over 20 years, working as a fine artist and supporting myself through a variety of art-related jobs that included art handler, nightclub decorator, theatre set and prop designer, decorative and mural painter, graphic designer, and artist’s assistant. In 2001, I moved back to Washington, DC with my partner and have lived in the area since.
My childhood in DC was infused with a keen interest in the civil rights and anti-poverty movements, and, as a teenager, I became closely aligned with anti-war, feminist, and gay liberation activism. As an adult, I have had strong identification and ties with LGBT, reproductive rights, and HIV/AIDS activist movements.
I have been in long-term recovery from addiction since 1992. A major outgrowth of my recovery and activism involved the pursuit of a Masters in Social Work in community organizing from Hunter College in NYC, awarded in 1997. Since then, I have worked with grassroots community groups across the country to develop peer programs and advocacy agendas that promote recovery and battle discrimination. I am currently serving as a Presidential Appointee in the Obama Administration.
Since I have been in recovery, my work has evolved with newfound sense of purpose and focus, becoming more fused with my activist experience and more directly incorporating feminist and queer sensibilities.
In my figurative paintings, I have combined these overriding concerns with a love of paint and glitter, lurid colors, appropriated images, and accompanying text. I use painting to explore personal and political aspects of my life in a context of pop art and culture, creating works that are bold and serious with an edge of irony and humor.
In my abstract paintings, I aim to achieve a balance between process, materials, and content. In these non-objective works, geometric scaffolding forms the basis from which organic forms emerge and interrelate. I am drawn to intense colors and build up translucent layers of paint and glitter through brushwork, pouring, and squeegeeing. Controlled accidents play a joyful part in the painting process, resolved through a process of rethinking, reworking, and refining. The resulting panels demonstrate currents of fluid and explosive movement, tempered by moments of calm restraint, and attain an odd and somewhat awkward elegance in balance, depth, and design.