The painter on her favorite WWE wrestlers and what makes her home base of Ridgewood so special.
We love your greyhounds! (We like to think every studio should have a dog or two.) How did they come into your life, and how would you describe their personalities? What is it like having them around as you work?
Greyhounds are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, and they truly embody prehistoric energy. You will find them in cave paintings, hieroglyphs and the Bible. Scientifically, they have an entirely different DNA makeup than their canine counterparts, and I feel like this becomes more and more apparent as you spend time with them and study their behavior. They are seemingly more akin to dinosaurs, cheetahs, cats, deer, horses and kangaroos–and I love this about them!
Every day feels a bit like observing exotic beasts living their lives within mine, which creates constant surprises along the way. They are never, ever boring, even while asleep. I call them my “Angel Beasts” because they are the sweetest apex predators. So socialized, yet so primal. I revere this duality, which is so real.
Obviously, the structural form of a greyhound and the lines they create with their bodies is beautiful and beautifully awkward. Taxi and Veronica both retired from the racing industry at three years old, respectively. It was very important for me to rescue them in general, and I wanted to offer them a loving home off of the race track for the remainder of their lives.
You mentioned that your recent works are becoming more 'personified,' testing how feminine and bright you can make them. What do you mean by 'personified,' and what made you want to push your new works in that direction?
A significant amount of my pieces have titles that personify them, like Lady Danger or The Feral Empress or The Soft Spoken One. In this sense, they are abstract portraits, except they are not of people–they are of places, visual memories, moods, specific auras and color palettes that make us who we are.
As a female, this comes out most accurately, for me, in expressing duality and avoiding anything that gets easily categorized. I am interested in making a piece that resonates as extremely “feminine” where I don’t detract anything from its pure and objective beauty. But in the next piece, I am interested in offsetting and ruining this beauty in what are hopefully surprising ways. It [becomes about] the contradictions for me... everything all at once.
The plaque with WWE star Stone Cold Steve Austin up on your shelf caught our eye. When did you first get into wrestling, and what makes Stone Cold and The Undertaker your favorites?
I have been a wrestling fan since I was 12 years old. At that age, our TV only had about four channels, and I happened to stumble upon the “buried alive” match between Stone Cold and the Undertaker, where the winner successfully buried his competitor in a live arena. [This event] kept on theme with the Undertaker’s macabre allure, in which he brings both death and reincarnation, all within the confines of a televised competitive sport.
I thought this was the strangest thing I had ever seen. I also found it so full of art. There were good guys and bad guys, underdogs, wild theatrics, sparkly outfits, masks, face paint, spandex, leather, hairdos, entrance music, and, of course, it was all a beautifully choreographed dance. I also found it interesting that within this brutal, macho sport that showcases extreme athleticism, what captivated people was the art behind it.
The wrestlers began as athletes, but they had to become (if they weren’t already) artists in this demonstration of complete dedication to the character they had created—always adding nuance, modifying it, experimenting and pushing the boundaries.
You grew up in Tribeca but have really made Ridgewood your home base. What took you to that part of the city, and what made you decide to stay? Any favorite spots in the neighborhood to recommend?
As you walk around Ridgewood, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice everyone is working on something. There are factories, industry workers, artists, musicians, and everything in between. It feels like things are being made here, and I enjoy that. It's also extremely diverse, which is important to me.
My recent favorite spots are Pan, Mini Mart, When in Kathmandu, and Forest Park with my dogs.
On top of pushing the color and brightness in your newer works, there also seem to be fewer geometric elements. Where else do you think your art might take you this year?
I am interested in simplifying or exploring whether areas of the painting are capable of holding more weight on their own. However, I don’t like to plan too much. My favorite pieces tend to be those that had more autonomy, where I was following them instead of controlling them.
I always like to return to old work on some level, almost out of a sense of loyalty and remembering certain parts of my life. Then I like to add something that makes it new and curious, so I am hoping to perpetuate this cycle as well.