The subject matter of my installations is often drawn from my experience being born mixed-race in the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in an old World War II housing project, in Tacoma, WA. Many people of different ethnicities lived in my neighborhood. However, my mother is Italian and African and my father is Native American which meant that I didn’t look quite like one thing or the other, and it was common for people to ask me: What are you? This (objectifying) question is imbedded into my practice and my exploration of an expanded view into unseen subjectivities.
My work explores the space between reality and illusion. Where do appearance and truthfulness intersect? I ask that question more in the sense that what we see really depends on our own perspectives. I remember growing up in spaces other people did not want to be. Returning to these memories for me means attempting to reveal the marvelous that is often hidden in the less regarded aspects of life and extending the availability of alternate roles to the subjects, places and objects I am finding.
The results are compositions that are created to help magnify the layers of meanings made possible
by our senses and perceptions. I do this in part because I believe that social constructs are stories that can be taken apart and told differently. In my most recent series, I have been remaking an image of an image, specifically layering in selected objects to change their dimensions and scale. I am interested in taking away blinders that can make “someone" into a predetermined “something". I do this as a meditation on disrupting the established ways we are taught to think that about seeing.
Contemplating my physical appearance includes thinking of it as an object, or rather how my personhood becomes objectified (or unimaginable). I see my body as a thing that has a name and casts a shadow — I believe that being of color in America involves a process of moving through and adopting from many different cultures. To define what's authentically black or even white, or anywhere in between for that matter is virtually impossible. As there are as many ways of ‘being’ as there are people. I have an understanding of myself as an amalgamation of many things that have been combined in to one. An existence that changes based on the context of the space it inhabits.
My work considers how day-to-day existence lends significance to places, objects, and things, elevating them through a process of familiarity. The details that I notice become representations of my reality. They represent both what they are and something else, at the same time. Such symbols, in my opinion, allow for a different way of seeing the self, not as a mirror but as an access point into an alternative definition of individuality. They act as elements that allow the viewer to explore and possibly complicate the narratives that are firmly affixed in normative presumptions.
Within my process, human subjectivities and more individualized identifications are seen as something that can become know-able. My works are metaphors for overcoming “Otherness”— more in the sense that when someone is seen as less than, or as an object, this perspective can then be appropriated and re-loaded with more poignant meanings that point towards agency and autonomy.