In considering one’s art practice—the time, energy, struggles, and dedication required—the why one does it begs to be answered. For me this answer developed over a period of time even though my artistic journey began almost immediately after a personal tragedy; the sudden, unexpected death of my stepfather. It was then that I discovered that creating art was not simply something to do to pass the time while I grieved but the start of a life-changing passion that I would continue to develop and never stop doing for as long as I live.
My life mantra is to “help others for their betterment.” It is more than a duty or responsibility; it is a spiritual gift. I believe that in order to help others it is important to have resources at your disposal. My resources have taken many forms including the sharing of skills, time, experience, myself, and wholehearted belief in the dignity of those who I have had the privilege to help. For several years art has been one of my major resources I use in helping others. As I continue to grow in my art practice I realize that the core motivation for what I do goes beyond the fulfillment of my need; it extends from within my desire to genuinely help others for their benefit and empowerment.
In the midst of violent and often issue-laden situations that are less than what one would consider “community” I have chosen to look beyond the ugly and instead focus on the need to remember the importance of upholding family, togetherness, collaboration, and community. I do not ignore the reality of what is; instead, I am compelled to address the inequities of neglect, child abuse, violence, and poor influences.
My life experiences working with people have taught me a lot. One of my greatest joys in life has been working with physically and mentally challenged individuals. I currently work with autistic children and am learning firsthand the value I can help instill in these individuals and their development. This fall I will start my graduate work in Art Therapy. I look forward to working as an art therapist where it will afford me the opportunity to use my passion to work with adults and children who suffer from PTSD and other related disorders. I am interested in working with seniors suffering from mental illness; those who often are disregarded and whose symptoms may be taken as normal signs of aging.