In addition to working as a freelance graphic and web designer, I own and run an art gallery, Kanon Collective, on Santa Fe Drive with several local artists, and try to spend the remainder of my free time working in my studio. Never someone who was satisfied doing only one type of art, I’m often working on several things at a time. My artwork includes photography, mixed media, and jewelry.
My most recent work revolves around the iconography of 80’s video game characters, such as Pac Man and Space Invaders. Looking back, they all seem so simple and perhaps that’s where the attraction lies. The simplicity of 8-bit images are part of the charm, and speak to my love of graphics and digital photography— every pixel has meaning. These works simultaneously appeal to my perfectionist side while trying my patience — the act of glueing down tiny Chiclets, one by one, can become quite hypnotic. And since candy isn’t as perfect as pixels, I’ve learned to embrace the imperfections as an integral part of my final creation.
Much of the work I do stems from my love of photography and working with digital art. I love the freedom of digital photography because I no longer have to worry about the cost of film and processing — now I just take pictures of everything that catches my eye, and if I end up with three photos out of a hundred that look good, all I’ve wasted is a bit of hard drive space. The photo squares I create are more like little mental postcards — bits of imagery that have captivated me and found their way into one of my thousands of photographs. In fact, sometimes as I’m scanning through old photographs, I’ll notice something that I didn’t when I initially took the picture — an odd road sign in the background, for instance. The process of creating many of my pieces involves transferring the photos onto surfaces using a heavy acrylic gel medium. Through the transfer process I’ve created, some of the details of the photograph are removed so that what is left is more like a ghost or crackled memory of it — not quite perfect, but still available for viewing. I sometimes create textures and colors on the surface beforehand, that end up showing through the transferred photos. In addition, I also like to add different pigments, inks and found objects to the resin I use to coat the finished pieces. This creates a three-dimensional image that appears to float in the middle, often creating shadows through the crackle texture that happens as a result of the pigment in the photo paper reacting with the water in the acrylic gel. The final images end up not really looking like photographs at all and the image becomes the focus of the piece. I tend to gravitate toward images with bright colors and strong contrast, with subject matter ranging from flowers to graffiti to street signs.
The pieces I create with melted candy started with a simple Tootsie Pop wrapper — I was amazed at how it hadn’t changed since I was a kid. I decided I wanted to make something out of the wrappers. As I started collecting them and experimenting with them, I realized that I had all these leftover lollipops and I didn’t know what to do with them. Then it dawned on me that they could be used in my art as well. I began experimenting with creating sculptures and eventually came around to melting them together. They look so beautiful and glass-like when you melt them and the surface becomes completely smooth. In addition to Tootsie Pops, I added Dum Dums and Jolly Ranchers to the mix as well — mango Dum Dums smell so good when they’re melted. In order to preserve these pieces, I coat them with many layers of resin, which also intensifies the colors. My first pieces were purely abstract, but then I had the idea to create the Twister board for the Modernism show — it seemed like a perfect combination of two things I loved from my childhood. As time consuming as these pieces are, I must say — they are made with the best-smelling art supplies ever.
The other pieces I created with candy is my Peeps series, celebrating everyone’s favorite Easter candy. Peeps ave become very iconic in our culture and it’s rare that I find someone who doesn’t know what they are, whether they actually like to eat them or not. In my world, the Peeps are quite sarcastic and cynical … a bit like me. I like the juxtaposition of adult themes mixed with things from my childhood, because I don’t think we ever completely grow up (thank goodness).
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Film from BYU and a Master of Humanities from the University of Colorado at Denver, where I also taught for two years as an adjunct professor in the Multimedia and Fine Arts department.