A nebula in a petri dish

I spent the majority of my days, months, years between 2006 and 2008 watching The Fountain on repeat—slowly but surely absorbing the magical organic textures created by Chris Parks for the trailer and (*spoiler alert*) space scenes: opting for analogue methods instead of VFX that produced imagery that to this day has refused to age.

Chris has taken the cloud tank techniques used in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close encounters of the Third Kind and refined them to create mesmerising and powerful imagery that has an unrivalled organic and timeless quality. 

So, it is no surprise, then, that when the time came to transition between a physics major and art major, my first subliminally planted task was to transform my black and white film camera into a microscope.

In 2008, a student without the necessary means, of course, to purchase any high-end equipment, I settled for a Canon AE-1 film camera as a prerequisite tool for my Black & White Dark Room class. Using just this camera and an additional lens, with some additional fiddling and maybe long forgotten images of concave and convex lenses, I stumbled on a method to create ultra-macro photos:
This particular technique, due to the dual lens method, only allows for a small portion of the film to be exposed—essentially not dissimilar to the way the eye can see the black edges inside a pair of binoculars. This results in circular images, framed just as you see them above, in the middle of the film strip.
Now, what is most warming and beautiful about these experiments is that not only was I nearing the completion of an Astrophysics degree, but all the while I had spent the majority of my young-adult life working as an educator at the the local planetarium, adjunct to UNC. 

My whole life: I was an absolute nerd, in love with the cosmos to the very core of the molecular star dust stored in my bones. Yet, here in front of me were new worlds that I was creating all on my own—how did I not realize it at the time?

As I worked through my art studies I had the absolute pleasure and luck to take a digital photography class with MJ Sharp who was ever so encouraging in my exploration of these non-traditional Fine Art Photography methods. Throughout 2008 to 2010, after upgrading to a tiny Canon SLR (which, again with great irony, was financed by physics research grant...) I continued pointing my contraption in different directions and showed this series of photos at a small end-of-class gallery show:

Finally, aptly named "Worlds"...

Throughout my art studies at UNC there were two additional professors that I could truly say changed my life permanently.

Nestor Gil opened my eyes to the idea that life itself is indeed art; that art doesn't have to be a physical object in a physical space, but can be everywhere, and nowhere, that it can even just be implied. That Art is an experience you have, something you can actively participate in: this was my first exposure to performance art. And most importantly, he tied my Astronomy and Art worlds together: encouraging me to create projects literally inside of a Planetarium. To no feel shame about my disparate backgrounds. This will come back to me in the future in profound ways...

Kimowan Metchewais. If I could heave a heavy sigh with my words, I would. What a great loss for all of us that he was taken so early in life. I could scream at the sky every day to tell him how much he meant to me as a professor and human. He blended design and art seamlessly, and explored transportable fine art experiences while exploring the use of materials in eye opening ways, even human hair. He was the first to encourage the digitization of my artwork—saying it is okay to use digital software to create art. To use design techniques to speak to people in profound ways. And especially to use the act of creation as a reminder that we are connected to something much bigger than ourselves. 

Thank you, Nestor and Kimowan.
2010 and onward...
It would be a very long time before I picked up the camera again, and indeed, before I remembered that I was fundamentally an artist (as we all are) without having to try to be.

I spent the early 2010s figuring out how to monetize my decoupaged studies: what on earth does one do with an art degree and a physics degree. I was lucky yet again to have a mentor, Michelle Kloda, at the Morehead Planetarium who encouraged my exploration of exhibit design and convinced the endlessly talented Experience Design team (the ones who make those amazing 3D dome shows inside of planetariums) lead by Jay Heinz, to teach me a small morsel about design. Poor Jay, I remember him shoving a stack of design literature at me and just saying ... please ... go look at this and learn something...

I suppose in the end, I did. His and Michelle's confidence in me paved the way to my becoming a designer and ultimately propelled me into a New York City based career that would last over a decade, one which expedited my path towards becoming a leader in the design industry and ultimately empowered me to be completely self-sustained as an independent design contractor. 

I look back at these people and opportunities and my gratitude is forever over-pouring. When someone sees something in you, listen.
It would be 5 grueling years of living the NYC lifestyle of 60 hours weeks, sleepless nights, two jobs at once, not eating properly because finances over health...A long climb up the ladder, and an ultimate jump off. Was it worth it?

Having moved through a debilitating episode of burn-out, divorce, health complications, moving back in with my parents in my mid-twenties after having seemingly thought everything was figured out...I decided to start again—to begin rebuilding my life, my worlds, my universes... from scratch.

I moved to San Francisco, never having been, to start something new—but namely to heal something deep within myself and to learn my creative truths. 
We are all born artists. We have all always been artists, from the very moment we could pick something up, or even just dream. Our job should have only ever been to create, to play, to put that love we feel inside of ourselves out into the world. It is the ever present structures, oppressions, manipulations of society that mold us into something we are not. It is one of the truest tragedies that the majority of humanity will not be allowed the opportunity to discover their inner truths. 

After a long quiet, many months of healing, companionship with a spiritual particle, the tether was reformed: I started making art again. The experiments bloomed, I was again constantly pointing my strange contraption, sometimes held together with a large bandage wrap, at everything I could find in the apartment: bubbles, milk, salt, coffee, cooked on crud inside of the oven... 

Harkening back to Chris Park's work, I wanted to continue exploring liquids and how they interact with each other in order to create explosive reactions...well, very subtle ones, actually. The series above is a collection of bubbles forming in a glass jar, un-pictured are experiments with milk and dish-soap—it was indeed a bit of a science lab that naturally evolved into paint and one particular experiment I did when I was a child making black and white micro-mixtures of acrylic.

Motion, reaction, lack of control— I wanted to harness a moment in time...so naturally, my science background whispered a wee idea into my head:
A petri dish is also a nebula
The era of the petri dish began and I don't believe it ever ended. Much of my work happens here and my dedication to this space has helped me define and understand my personal approach to the act of creation.

Having always been more interested in worlds, especially the hidden ones, around me, I let the paint play. I let it move, elude, bend and melt. I add other chemicals to produce interactions. I dedicate my practice to the ephemeral nature of endless reactions happening around us: those that we can witness, those that we can be a part of, those that we affect and those that we have no idea are happening. Every action has an ...
Traditional Art
Having come from the traditional art world, yet taken a very non-traditional path, I found it impossible to penetrate the gallery eco-system. Between paid submissions, portfolio reviews, schmoozing with expensive looking folk at gallery openings, to even building an art-centric app—I always struggled to find a place in the hierarchy. I also knew that it wasn't a game I was particularly interested in playing. It results in quite a challenge: what is art if noone experiences it? Does it exist? Does it have purpose? Is it enough for it to exist on my websites, in my home...

The last few years have been a struggle to come to terms with how I would like to showcase my work—considering it Art with a capital A, but not necessarily wanting it to be part of the white-washed gallery space, nor wanting to make it feel as throw away as some social media platforms make art feel. But frankly, perhaps I was too busy or too lazy to properly dedicate my time to crafting a Fine Art career.

I knew there was something in the act of creation that freed me, that I wanted to share, and I knew I wanted to approach my process via a practice of Wu Wei.

Fast forward to 2021
Through my travels in the art realms, I was blessed to cross digital-paths with another person who saw me in the way that my mentors did in my younger years. 

If you have been following my banter on social media, you will know my undying gratitude to the legend Joshua Davis, who has not only been a supporter of my work (which makes my heart explode and eyes bulge in and of itself), but even used some of my photography in his installation at OFFF Barcelona...

He is also one of the main figures who introduced me to the world of art-ownership (and therefore sale) via the blockchain—also known as NFTs.

I jumped on the NFT wagon quickly, after research & advice and ultimately deep appreciation for the over arching goal of self and community empowerment. These platforms and communities finally free us from the decades of rubbing up against secret-club-like mentality of the art world, and the very expensive people who run them. And for me personally, it finally frees me from feeling like a failed artist.

Now, I get to look back on my body of work with a renewed understanding, re-energization, re-inspiration and have it all finally be for something. I get to control how it enters the collector space, i get to chat and build relationships with those collectors, I get to avoid the middle man to connect with people who truly understand and appreciate all of our united art efforts.
First, thank you to everyone who has been a part of the NFT world (artists, collectors, architects) building it with care and love for longer than I know.


It is with great excitement...
...that I announce that I will be joining the Superrare family, forever ingraining my works of art into permanence (more or less!) and stating: I was here, on this planet—I breathed, I lived, I loved, I hurt, and I created. Knowing that a part of me will live on, that my art journey hasn't been in vein, because someone somewhere one day, will see it. That is what the blockchain means to me. 

There is no better way to celebrate all this than with the minting of my collection of planets called Planetarium. There are only 9 of them and there will only ever be 9 of them. My heart breaks with joy for the 7 year old girl thrilled beyond belief to receive a telescope for Christmas that surely was no fit for my immigrant parent's salary. For the kid who made her first planet from scratch in photoshop a blurry 14 years ago. For the teenager who decided to pursue physics even though she wasn't particularly good at it...for the college student who fell out of love with Astrophysics because she couldn't bare spending THAT many hours staring at a computer... and had the gall to do something about it. For the new human realizing there are more universes to explore than just the one above our heads. For the difficult decisions that laid ahead. For her getting herself here and for every single loved one, mentor and human who believed along the way. It's for you.

Thank you. If there is anything you ever need, please never hesitate to reach out.
I am forever here.

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