My journey as an artist began at 10 years old when my sister married a man whose family owned a scrapyard. My brother in law and I would wander around the yard collecting odd pieces of rusted metal and old machine parts that we would weld together, transforming them into sculptures. What excited me was the scrapyard itself where I was overwhelmed by piles of history, rust and decay, a landscape with limitless imaginative potential. This early experience had a profound impact on my direction as an artist.
It was as a sculpture major in undergraduate school I began to create sculptural environments and installations in order to draw the viewer deeper into my work. I became motivated by a desire to create art where the viewer is not a passive observer but an integral part of the experience. I continued to find inspiration from scrap yards which soon extended to landfills where gigantic piles of trash revealed layers of refuse like strata of the earth. The scavenging birds picking through the remains brought my interest to the next level and I began including performers in my installations
My work exists on the cusp between visual arts and theater. It is within the tension between sculptural form and live performance where I have found my voice. I make sculptures that are developed into interactive elements for live performance. When I create a sculpture I am constantly thinking about how a person or performer will interact with it. Movement or the potential of it is always inherent in my work.
As a designer I rarely use static words like set or props, rather I create performance environments and interactive sculpture that envelope the audience and performers. I give these interactive sculptures names and introduce them as characters to the other actors and expect them to treat them as fellow performers that grow and develop along with them in the production. I don’t often work in traditional performance venues because I prefer spaces that have a character and history not associated with live performance. I find spaces that inspire and fuel the concept I am working with.
I am an inventive artist whose work naturally crosses disciplines. I do not let technical or financial challenges cloud my vision. My attitude is: we landed on the moon, so how difficult can this design challenge be, with the right ensemble of creative thinkers. I want to engage my audience with challenging, theater that is both spectacular and abstract, theater that deals with difficult themes.
Transformation and change are an integral part of my design. Houses that cry, metal detectors that become flying machines, umbrellas that rain are some of the images that characterize my work. The performance environments I create are continually shifting and changing before your eyes but all the information is there, I hide nothing, there is no slight of hand, I lift the veil that obscures what is really happening so the audience can focus on the entirety of the work.
As an artist based in New Orleans, a region plagued by trauma and drama along with irrepressable beauty and magic, I find ample fuel for my work.Creating art in the post Katrina environment brings me back to where my artistic voyage began, in a landscape of transformation and decay, providing me with endless inspiration and opportunity to realize my performance designs.