As a twenty-something young artist/designer trying to get my bearings in the world, I suddenly lost my life’s compass — my father. I was exactly half his age. In response to the nearly unbearable grief and loss I felt, I joined a group of outdoorsy strangers (Sierra Club) and learned wilderness survival skills: backpacking, climbing, snow travel, and orienteering. I felt an urgent need to connect with something more real, more powerful — wild and uncontrollable. These were my first experiences in relationship with the nation’s vast system of public lands, and my love of them has only deepened as my travels have taken me throughout the Western United States.
Several years later, another pivotal experience changed my life. I was diagnosed with cancer shortly after moving to Seattle. My experiences during treatment completely changed my perspective of how I wanted to use my art and design skills to improve the lives of citizens as they move about their everyday activities. I received cancer treatment at Swedish Medical Centers all around the city, and their public art collection was a source of comfort and sanity in otherwise harsh, uncertain circumstances. I began to look at public art in completely new ways. I knew it was time to realign my career to contribute creatively to this discipline.
My two loves — public lands and public art — share a variety of common features. My creative practice lives in the overlapping spaces between them. It touches on the sublime delight of life and nature through biophilia. It works out details of the human relationship to ecosystems — what it means to connect with nature in both urban and wilderness environments. It brings together ideas of solitude in public places. It considers public property and community ownership.
While my work isn’t always directly about landscape, it’s invariably in response to it or situated within it. My relationship to the land is key, and writers including Bachelard, Calvino, Abbey, Thoreau, Solnit, Lippard, and Ackerman color those experiences in particular ways. The art I create asks the viewer to consider the implications of human mark-making and erasure in relationship to nature, conservation, and re-creation. My primary goal is to bring people together with place and build communities through nature and creative expression.