I had a great opportunity to be interviewed by Horse Network last month! Check out the full length version, below♡
What about horses inspires you as a subject?
Horses have long been my favorite animal. I could gaze at their faces all day. From the age of 9 to 15 my mom took me and my sisters traveling the world and almost every country we went to we checked out local riding stalls. From galloping in the South of France on the indegenous Camargue horses to visiting The Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria–I am grateful to be so enriched by the different cultures of horses just as much as the different cultures of people in the world!
I can remember a time at camp back when I was 12, after a trail ride with some others my horse got super excited when he saw that he was back at the farm and bolted towards the stalls. My classmates later told me I was thrown from the horse. I woke up on the ground not remembering the incident (but sprained my butt if that’s possible?lol I hobbled for a week). Still, I never shied away from my love for these amazing beasts.
I don’t know what exactly it is about the horse that inspires me. I find that most things in life that I have yet to figure out are the things that drive me the most because their mystery lies deeper. My imagination/creativity is attracted to the quest of discovering that.
On my solo trip I took to Scandinavia in the Fall of 2010 I took a trail ride through the wilderness outside Reykjavik on Icelandic ponies–mine was on the right, Gulliver was his name
Something that also feeds my enthrallment with these animals is the movies. I was 5 years old when I saw Wild hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991)–Senora and her horse Lightning were the first movie heroins I ever knew. I still watch it from time to time and now cry a little (having lived through my 20s) because I know what its like people not believing in you but out of sheer determination you prove them wrong. Senora was an orphan with no manners or education but she had it in her gut to suceed at whatever she put her mind to. Lightning was similar, won at Hank’s Poker contest, only Senora could tame this horse as wild and passionate at heart as she. This story, in hindsight, kind of reminds me of my other favorite movie from my childhood Free Willy in how two orphan heroins Jesse and Willy unite and build eachother up. Speaking of orcas, that was my first collage I ever did (back in 2015)! Orcas happen to be my favorite sea animal and horses are my favorite land animal.
I am all about pop-culural nostaglia in my work–either it being directly visual in the art pieces or indirect through the story of why I did it.
In general, how long does it take to complete a collage piece?
It takes me roughly 30 hours and there are several parts to my process, see below.
What materials do you use and (briefly) what is your process like?
1) Creating my “medium”: I gather my pallette through magazine clippings. I will take old issues of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, etc., and flip through hundreds of pages cutting out the colors, tones and textures that pertain to the subject I am creating. That takes around 3-4 hours.
2) Making the canvas: I use 4 pieces of 60-80lb 18″x24″drawing paper–not too flimsy but enough flex to be a rolled up. I tape and staple the bottoms and the ends and then use masking tape all up and down the four sides.
3) Next I draw the subject and roughly shade in the areas for placing deeper tones and darker colors there versus lighter colors in the other areas. The rough drawing takes minutes, it’s the hours of gluing and deep focus that come next …
4) Basically, my art piecing sessions can go anywhere from 3hours all the way to 8hours in one day. I work under the night light alot because my creativity always blossoms more in the evenings. I use about 7 jumbo gluesticks for these pieces–everytime I go into my local art store to restock they’re like “Let me guess, more glue sticks?” lol
5) After I get done gluing/pasting and layering (this happens alot since I don’t always like what I am gluing down, so I just cover it up with new layers until it looks just right), I pour Modge Podge over the entire piece and take a large paint brush to spread it out. It looks like an opaque milky white but when it dries it becomes clear again to see the collage–thank goodness!ha The modge podge acts as a sealant.
Where do the horse “models” in your pieces come from?
I gather them online and seek out the ones that have the most detail so I can capture their likeness in my large pieces. I do well with more stoic portraits of horses but wouldn’t mind doing some more action/candid portraits at some point.
What is the connection, in your mind, between horses and
Well, ever since I was young I have been an avid fashion magazine reader–it is like another art form to me. There is this regal glamour and nostalgia about fashion that is on par with the equastrian world–from indians riding Apaloosas bare back on the western planes circa 1800 to superstar race horses Seabicuit and Secretariate at the turn of the century. These creatures have always been “en vogue” just like fashion and the different realms of history it has left its mark on. In general, I like to weave different subjects together that I am passionate about.
I have incorporated various brands and their themes into my acrylic painting collections (that is one of my main mediums in addition to collage). Here are two brands “Starbucks” and “Wonder Bread” that have resonated with me and how I intertwined horses and models/fashion into them (I included the captions that I have on my Instagram):
“A star is nothing without her buck.” Feat.@bellahadid in my latest Starbucks-inspired art. ⭐️✖️⭐️Some people may know by now that Starbucks was named after a character in Moby Dick but what does the name denote? The term star is a feminine term as it shines light and buck (like a male deer) is like a guiding force attracted by the light and at the same time continuing its brilliance. The terminology within Starbucks shows a complementary balance and hence reflects Starbuck’s core values. So when the company first started it was important for them to come up with a consumer product that would subliminally identify and subconsciously attract–across the gender sphere.
Starbucks Native Art on white Ponies, 2015
I have always been a fine artist first and foremost but have channeled my creativity in different ways through writing (my blog on my website), poetry, and starting a fashion line. Two years after graduating from Duke University ( B.A. in Fine Arts ’09) I created my brand “Big. Bold. Fierce.” as a more commercial avenue to bring my pop cultural creations to the world via clothing. I learned alot about having a business these past several years, got into many stores and did some tradehows. It was hard WORK doing it all on my own plus having a day job and building up my fine art collection as well. I now just pursuing my fine art. Although the clothing line has taken a back seat, it still very much inspires what I do with art and that has enriched my world.
My models during one of our fashion shoots! The girl in the front is my little sister
One of my drawings-turned into a graphic tee
“I Scream Baseball” one of my most popular designs
Miami Fashion tradeshow, 2014
With one of my tank top designs at a boutique in West Palm Beah, Florida. My designs have been sold in over 22 boutiques across 8 states to date.
Do you accept custom orders for your collages?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story and I am so honored to be apart of Horse Network’s community of readers!