I am a Painter, an Author, and a Community Social Justice Art Educator, focused on chronicling the African American diaspora.
I was introduced to finger painting in kindergarten at five years old and immediately fell in love with the colors. So much so, I starting eating the paint because I thought it would taste like oranges, grapes or strawberries, of course, I was wrong and I stopped. However, at that moment I knew I was an Artist. I don't know how I knew, but I knew.
As a young adult, I came out as a same-gender loving woman and I was immediately ostracized from my family, church and friends, and lost everything dear to me. I had nowhere to turn. Being a sheltered preacher's kid I had limited knowledge about the outside world.
At first, I thought at least I would be free of other people’s opinions... However, that was short-lived, because I was raised to believe that my lifestyle was a guaranteed road to HELL. I did think that I only deserved a horrible life. Unfortunately, with that mindset, I became an addict.
Twelve years later I was a hopeless addict who wanted to die. I was so ashamed of myself, and I didn't know how to heal. I couldn't go back to where I'd come from, and I couldn't continue to kill myself.
I don't remember who told me where I could get help to get clean, but in my emotional bankrupt state, I knew I had to get there. I entered into a drug treatment facility and failed twice. The third time seemed to stick, and I finally got clean & sober on February 14, 2000.
Unequivocally it was the HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER HAD TO DO IN MY LIFE. Often I still question how I made it out of the depths of hell? The only answer I can come up with is, it was God's intervening grace that saved me.
After an unbelievable amount of hard work, pain, sweat, and tears, a couple of decades later, I became a full-time professional artist, in 2010. Thank God, being educated before I had ever picked up a pipe, was a blessing; otherwise, I'm sure I would not have graduated. I studied at the U of W and the Art Institute of Seattle.
At thirteen years of being clean & sober, it was the right time to repay the folks and organizations that had assisted in my recovery. It was my obligation to offer my help to anyone who wanted it, and I still feel this way.
As an African American painter, an author, and a Community Social Justice Art Educator, I was charged with battling the daily War of inequality. Which meant learning how to level the artistic playing field. How do I convert my creative skills to be an agent of change? I wrestled with how would I incorporate social justice into my art?