Want to know what the Warehouse Arts District Association is up to? Learn about the latest in this blog with features intended to keep members up to date. Also, members should join our closed Facebook group: the WADA Member Network.
Dylan Todd is a varied artist. While Dylan’s commission work spans the spectrum of photography, from portraiture to weddings, products to real estate, his fine-art is often self-as-subject portraiture and landscape photography.
Dylan, born 1991, began studying photography in high school and continued to the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies where he learned and worked at the Southeast Museum of Photography in their collection and youth programing.
In 2014, Dylan moved to Tampa Bay. After working in various roles, he picked the camera back up in 2017 and opened his first studio space in the Pinellas Park Arts Village. In late 2019, he moved his studio to the ArtsXchange in the Warehouse Arts District.
Currently, Dylan is the Art Director for Watermark Publishing Group, LLC and operates his business, Dylan Todd Photography.
Dylan’s fine art primarily focuses on the states of ‘self' versus ‘other' in understanding and considering the relationship of the subject to its environment either physically or implied. His fine art landscapes often involve visual repetition and emphasis of the weight of spaces. As a person who welcomes variety, Dylan is primarily a digital photographer using a DSLR or drone. He also utilizes his black and white darkroom in his studio.
“Moving to St. Petersburg has been one of the greatest decisions that I’ve made! Moving here, the city’s art scene was just starting to gain momentum. The amount of growth is inspirational. This is still a city of potential and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
I joined the ArtsXchange as an opportunity to gain more traction as an artist and as a photographer for hire. I hope by being in here that I can not only further my business, but be a resource for artists and the arts community in St. Pete.
Dylan Todd is for hire for your portrait, wedding, commercial, and fine art needs.
Sculptor, Dominice Gilbert, is ready to welcome you to her new self-curated slice of paradise located at 2341 1st Avenue South! The moment you arrive, you can tell that she is a meticulous designer and creator of all things metal. The studio is poised for a grand opening as soon as Covid-19 allows. Until then, please take a moment to read an interview with Dominice on what inspires her to create and how she decided to move her business from Chicago to St Petersburg. Aren't we lucky?!
How did you come by such a beautiful name, Dominice? It was my grandmother's middle name. She was from Lithuania.
How long have you been an artist? Forever. I have never had another job that was not art-related. Growing up in rural Indiana, I was a very driven kid and attended art programs at several schools to learn all types of art techniques. I graduated from high school early and attended Chicago Institute for Art and completed my artist residencies at CrabTree Farm in Lake Bluff , Illinois and The National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
How did you decide on metal as your medium? I have worked with various mediums from plastic, paper, wood and fell in love with metal as it is the most forgiving medium and easily manipulated. It was suggested to me by a high school teacher that I should consider taking a class called Agricultural Welding as I was known to pull things out of dumpsters to use in my art. I knew from the first class that metal sculpture was what I was going to do with my art career.
What inspires you? Essentially, I am inspired by the elements and creating the best work I can is my primary focus, I am always pushing myself to the next level which causes my sculpture to be constantly evolving, as every new design works off the last. My work is about a feeling, I like to create tension between forms, mixing opposing textures and shapes in harmony, creating balance in opposition. My sculptures are a replication of my emotions, but also a reflection of the viewer."
Do you teach? Yes, before Covid-19 I offered classes but not sure going forward. I had a "safety first" education and managed a metal shop where I oversaw that safety rules were followed. It is hard to teach someone in a short amount of time how to use all of the tools and safely work with the equipment, not to mention the protective gear involved with the craft.
This is a fabulous studio! What's the story? My partner, JR and I bought the property 10 years ago. We saw an opportunity to own commercial property in an art-friendly city zoned for creating 3-dimensional art, as well as have their home adjacent to the studio. The building is brand new but I designed it years ago. I followed JR to St Petersburg for the opportunity to have an on-premise live and work lifestyle which would be cost-prohibitive for Chicago. Also, I enjoy the warm weather and I make my living exhibiting at Florida craft and art festivals including the 2020 St Petersburg Mainsail show.
How supportive do you feel the St. Petersburg community is for the arts and artists? Besides being zone friendly as mentioned before, I have been very appreciative of the grants that were made available during this pandemic that helped me to continue to create and keep the studio running.
Why did you join WADA? Because I live and work in the Warehouse Arts District and I find that WADA appeals to working artists.
Is there anything that you would like for our readers to know? Yes, the studio is open by appointment, or I will go on-site for custom design consultations. I hope that everyone will check out my website and plan on stopping by the studio when artwalk resumes.
On September 9, the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) held its twice-yearly General Membership Meeting virtually, with 47 people attending. It was great to see the faces of our WADA family, some of whom have been part of the community for a long time, and some new faces as well.
Below are the updates from the meeting, summarized below for the benefit of members who could not attend.
Board Member Changes:
Julie’s board position is an artist representative position, and we are accepting nominations among artist members to fill her position. If you are interested please send your interest and resume to email@example.com
ArtsXchange Compound Updates
The ArtsXchange is the name for the entire compound owned, developed and managed by the Warehouse Arts District Association. Soft Water Studios, the Studios, The Shops, and Seven C are all part of the ArtsXchange.
Education Center. Next to the ArtsXchange Studios, we’re planning to renovate a space for an Education Center that will be a huge asset for community programming. There will be a dance floor and three classrooms. The project cost is $225K to develop. WADA received HUD funding (federal funds allocated by the city) of $150K and we have been trying to raise the additional $75k. We currently have raised $50K but still need $25K more. We will lose HUD funding if we don’t find this additional $25K in the next month. We’re so close! It’s a tough time to fundraise as there is a lot of need right now. All help welcome. If you know a potential donor for the Eduction center please reach out to Executive Director, Renee Dabbs firstname.lastname@example.org
We get most of this work done thanks to volunteers! We have a membership, education, fundraising and marketing committee that would love your involvement. If you’d like to get involved please contact me @ email@example.com and I’ll match you with activities that align with your interests.
Nathan Beard’s richly-layered paintings combine playful Abstract Expressionism with fields of color that transition slowly through hue and temperature. He slices blue painter’s tape, strip-by-strip, and methodically applies it to create cyclic patterns that enhance the dimension and movement of roughly-hewn serpentine forms floating in a splatter-and-pour soup. Nathan often chooses colors for their metaphorical possibilities, and the dance between chaos and order helps him meditate upon the weaving of human will with natural forces as a creative activity that sculpts Space-Time to our adaptive needs and desires. Drawn to the visual, ecological and political labyrinth of the Floridian waterscape, Beard’s inspiration for his Pond’s Edge series comes from both unspoiled wilderness and from brief moments of beauty in urban parks and modified natural spaces. He references photos taken on walks with his family and the series helps to hone the drawing and observational skills he needs for his entire body of work.
Nathan creates in St. Petersburg, where he lives with his wife and daughter, and serves as Assistant Curator at Dunedin Fine Art Center. Nathan has exhibited extensively since 2013, including Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Art, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), Highlands Museum of the Arts, Gallery 221, Olivet Nazarene University, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Morean Arts Center, JADA Art Fair (Miami), and Brooker Creek Preserve. His work is in a number of private and corporate collections, including Great Bay Distributors, B2 Communications, MHK, Penny Hoarder, Osprey Properties and Tampa Bay Title. In January, several of Beard’s large, multi-panel paintings were selected to serve in the Arts in Embassies program and will be on view at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador until 2023.
How long have you been a full-time artist?
I began marketing my work and seriously pursuing a career in the arts in 2013. For the first three years, I balanced studio time with my role as stay-at-home dad to our daughter Vera. When she began school, I was afforded the opportunity to work with a number of art spaces in the Tampa Bay region as an art installer and exhibits organizer. In late 2019, I began to focus all energy outside the studio on serving as Assistant Curator for DFAC, under the tutelage of Curatorial Director Catherine Bergmann.
We asked Nathan a few questions about his art and inspiration:
What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?
My main medium is acrylic paint. I also have a beautiful series of charcoal/graphite/pastel drawings. I have always preferred paint and moved from oil to acrylic upon the birth of our daughter because it's easier to clean up. I love the versatility of acrylic paint. Its fast dry-time helps me work quickly without overthinking things, and its durability allows me to add interesting materials to it to create texture, like spanish moss and soil from my front yard.
What inspires your art?
The little things in life and how they connect to the big things. For example, how our vascular system is similar in form and function to the roots and branches of a tree, which is again similar to a river’s tributaries and delta, and finally similar to the filaments of dark matter connecting clusters of galaxies across billions of light years. Although vastly different in scale, they all perform the same necessary function: the transmission of energy. It is the nature of that energy which I seek to answer for myself.
What is it like to be an artist in St. Petersburg?
I grew up on a farm near Buffalo, NY, studied painting at Colorado State University, and Cate and I moved here from Denver in 2010, mainly for the beach and to go back to school at USF. I wanted to pursue a Masters in Environmental Science so I could get involved in wetlands restoration and management, with a focus on invasive species, specifically feral hogs. But when Vera was born, I had a lot of second thoughts and used her nap times to get back into making art. I didn't know how things were going to work out but trusted my gut and asked Cate for her patience and support while I took the leap. Early on, I went to one of the Art Marketing workshops held at the Greenhouse and met some really great people who would play significant roles in my growth, and who connected me to people or situations that, combined with my own work ethic, accelerated that growth. My personal experience is that St Pete has been a wonderful place for me to hatch and grow as an artist. I have developed some very strong professional relationships and even stronger friendships in the process. In addition to exhibiting my own work, I've had the honor of collaborating with a number exceptional individuals and organizations, and have served as juror for art exhibitions and fairs, which has exposed me to the abundance of talent in our region and beyond.
Why did you join the Warehouse Arts District Association?
I joined WADA as part of the application process for the MTBH artist call. The nature of this project is exemplary in the way MTBH, WADA, and Barkett Realty are collaborating to connect local artists to new residents. I am very excited about all the aspects of this project, especially the prospect of completing a commission for a future resident of AD Lofts.
Finally, is there anything in particular you might like to promote?
I've been working hard in the studio this year to make new work, new connections, and consistent sales. I'd love for everyone to be able to stay connected with me and my work through Instagram @nathanbeardfineart and by signing up for my newsletter on my website, www.nathanbeardfineart.com. I make a couple of new pieces a month, so it won't be long until you see a painting or drawing that is perfect for your home or office. I'd also like to encourage everyone to come to Dunedin Fine Art Center to see our upcoming Fall exhibits that open to public view on September 14, including one I curated on my own called Vespertine, and others I co-curated with Catherine Bergmann, including Between Us that will feature work by some of Tampa Bay's most acknowledged creative partners, like WADA art stars Mark Aeling and Carrie Jadus. We've also just started offering a new program called "Enriched" Curator Tours that are offered every other Friday from 10:30 am - 12 pm beginning September 18. The tours are designed to create a safe way to engage with art and artists directly again. Groups are limited to 8, masks are required, distancing urged, and temps taken at the door. Artists who cannot join in person are invited to join via Zoom so that we may hear them speak about their work and engage them in Q + A. Email me to make your reservation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARTIST CALL for Detailed Color Paintings or Drawings of the exterior of the Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, the Palladium, Royal Theatre, Carter G. Woodson Museum and the Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement.
The Warehouse Arts District Association Education Committee has been working on a project to create Art Tubs for Pinellas County Schools. WADA Art Tubs are a student directed independent activity that allows students to explore the subject with materials in a tub. There are tubs for math, science and language arts, and our WADA Art Tubs project aims to create one for visual arts, to be utilized in the elementary art classrooms for grades K-5.
Our first WADA Art Tub project is a set of artisan-made architectural building blocks where students have the opportunity to create their own buildings, inspired by art-focused buildings in St. Petersburg, Florida.
We are looking for an artistically detailed color rendering of these local 6 buildings: Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Carter G. Woodson Museum, Royal Theater, Palladium, and Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement.
Artist Payment is $400.
In an effort to push this Call to Artist out to a diverse population, please feel free to share this Call with other qualified local St. Petersburg artists.
WADA will purchase the rights to a digital copy of your building image artwork for our WADA Art Tub Project under the following agreement:
Interested artists must return a basic “Letter of Intent” by midnight, August 30, via email to WADAarttubs@gmail.comincluding the artist’s intent to submit, identify which building(s) they would like to render and the artist’s return physical address. Although artists may submit for multiple buildings, each artist selected will be chosen to complete artwork for one building, allowing six artists to participate in this project.
August 30, midnight.: Letter of Intent Due via email to: WADAarttubs@gmail.com
October 18, 5pm.: Artwork images Due via email to: WADAarttubs@gmail.com
November 8: Notification via email and US Mail to Six Selected Artists
Mark Mitchell is an international multimedia artist, specializing in painting conceptual pop art. As a Pratt Manhattan graduate, School of Visual Arts alumnus, and former advertising creative director, he spent his entire career honing his visual and communication skills. Mitchell’s work has been exhibited during Art Basel Miami, at and also at Scope and Select Art Fairs. In the past few years, he was awarded seven times as an Art Slant Prize Showcase Winner. In early 2016, he launched HIDDEN AGENDA: The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell — a large-scale solo multimedia month-long exhibition at The Melvin Gallery at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He also won a Purchase Award at Gasparailla Festival of the Arts.
His work has shown in galleries and museums all over the Tampa Bay Region, and Mitchell is now the proud recipient of the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant 2019-20, and kicked off the year with a solo exhibition at TECO Public Art Gallery in Tampa. As a WADA member, he was recently selected for commission by both MODERN TAMPA BAY HOMES and FAIRGROUNDS PROJECTS. Mark will also be the featured artist to be showcased permanently in the lobby and common areas of a new national hotel property, opening soon in the Tampa Bay area (TBA). And he currently has four originals exhibiting on artsy.net via BG Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.
Always in pursuit of “The Big Idea”, Mark has learned how to put concept first, and manipulate imagery to surprise, provoke and reward the viewer. Mitchell’s approach as a fine artist is to draw on the power of mass media and pop culture, while repurposing its icons, imagery and techniques to deliver a more personal artistic statement. Through the use of meaningful juxtaposition and social commentary, Mark Mitchell’s work is an exploration of the irony, contradiction, parallels and harmony to be found in 21st-century life.
We asked Mark some questions about his art and inspiration:
How long have you been a full-time artist?
Conceptual Pop Art has been my prime focus for the past 10 years. That’s when I left my NYC advertising career behind and relocated to St Pete with my wife. I really needed to clear my mind and devote all my energy into establishing my painting style and developing a consistent body of work, which continuers to this day. That said, I continue to do a fair amount of commercial freelance work on the side—some art direction and design, as well as occasional voiceover projects that help pay the bills.
What is your medium and how did you arrive at it?
I paint in acrylic on canvas, which was a choice I made after starting with oils and becoming frustrated with the lengthy drying times, as well as toxic fumes from solvents. I made it my goal to achieve similar results with acrylics, and I’m happy overall with the technique at which I’ve arrived, and am breathing easier.
What inspires your art?
I’d say the answer is twofold. From a style standpoint, it’s the bold colorful imagery of classic Pop Artists like Rosenquist, Wesselman, Lichtenstein and Warhol—as well as current pop/street artists like Ron English, Banksy, Tristan Eaton, and so many more—including some amazing local artists and muralists. I feel like my style is a kind of mash-up of all my influences, refined through a filter that’s all me. But subject matter is another story. Since my work is thematic, my ideas are often “ripped from the headlines.” I find myself ruminating over current events, social issues, or topics that may be slightly under-the-radar. Lately they’re often issues around new technology, human behavior, and the relationship between the two. So, I set out with a theme, and use the canvas to convey my perspective on the topic, as a means to provoke viewers to think a bit, or spark a conversation.
Are you a St. Petersburg native? What is it like to be an artist here?
I’ve been here ten years. Not sure when I get to call myself a native! But no, i’m originally from New York. One of the things that drew me here, and continues to excite me is the connectivity of the St Pete arts community. I feel that I landed in a diverse artist colony of sorts—with a wide range of disciplines and experience who (mostly) have a great rapport and are happy to support each other’s artistic journeys. We have everything from high to lowbrow, museum to gallery to street, and so much talent! It’s nice to be in such good company, and it seems the opportunities for artists here continue to expand. As the city continues to build, grow and welcome new residents, I look forward to an influx of serious art patrons and collectors, as well as an even more robust and authentic gallery presence.
I’ve been a fan of WADA, its studios and galleries for years now—especially MGA Sculpture and Soft Water Studios, where I was honored with a Best-In-Show award. I was curious for a while about joining WADA as an off-site artist. As someone with a home studio, I liked how WADA offered open calls, an online profile, publicity and connection with other members. When the Modern Tampa Bay Homes commission opportunity was announced, it seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge. Very happy I did! As a result, I was selected as one of eight featured artists offered for potential commission to new townhome owners in Ad Lofts, now under construction in St Pete!
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say?
It’s been a big thrill and honor to have been awarded a Creative Pinellas arts grant this year—a program including personal mentorship for me by the great Steven Kenny, blog writing, new art creation, virtual artists talks, studio tours and an online exhibition. And after a months-long pandemic delay, I’m happy to say the real-life Emerging Artist Gallery Exhibition is now finally open to the public! Among a lot of wonderful other grant winner’s work, the show features my largest piece to-date—a nine foot wide triptych called “Distracted Driving”. I’ve also included three new small pieces currently on display that carry the distraction theme through. I encourage anyone interested to check out my website to learn more at www.markmitchellstudio.com. You can also find Mark Mitchell Studio on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @mmstudioart.
Dear Darling Readers -
My name is Miss Lonely Arts and I’ll be here every week to answer all your questions about art, love, relationships, and of course our fabulous Warehouse Arts District Association. Some have called me a know-it-all (my mother, for instance) and they’re right. I know it all! So bring it on! Ask whatever questions you want and feel free to comment on my answers. Really good ones will be published in the Digest and in our WADA blog and I’ll try to answer everyone. You can reach me at MissLonelyArts@gmail.com.
And here’s our first question from “Looking for Love at WADA”:
Dear Miss Lonely Arts,
I recently ended a tragic relationship and now am looking for love in all the right places. I’m thinking my best bet is to focus on artists. Which artists make the best lovers?
While glass blowers might seem like the obvious choice... all artists are great in the sack. Creativity, patience, and perseverance - hallmarks of great lovemaking - are all part of great art making.
Painters are sensitive, photographers are observant, sculptors and welders are strong, ceramic artists and potters are earthy, and jewelers, weavers, and mosaic artists have wonderful small motor skills. Yeah, artists will definitely ring your bell.
Miss Loney Arts
Frequently Wrong But Never In Doubt!
WADA was so fortunate to have the generous support of donors; we were able to give 20 grants of $500 each earlier this summer. From the comments we have received, it is clear those grants made an impact in the recipients’ lives. We thought we would share some of the comments we received.
”Thank you for supporting me during this pandemic. Your donation helped me to move forward with my surgery by helping me to cover the deductible. I am now back planning and creating to promote ART.”
”It is hard for me to put my gratitude towards WADA into words for a helping hand. The USD 500 grant has been used to pay essential necessities as part of my month’s rent, bills (electricity, water) and food. Forever grateful.”
”The stress and uncertainty over the past few months has been financially and mentally challenging. As a full time working artists, this grant was a breath of relief for a moment in time where I was able to pay my health insurance and buy groceries along with a few studio supplies that will help me continue to create art and goods for my community. I am just so proud to be a part of a community that supports local artists especially during times of need. Thank you again for your continued support of the local arts. It truly means more than words can express.”
”The WADA grant was a bit of relief in this very difficult time. I was able to use the funds to help pay a month’s worth of rent at the ArtsXchange and have portioned the rest of the funds as reinvestment into a better backdrop system to offer more professional headshots in my studio. The funds were able to relieve financial stress and allowed me to re-invest into my business; diversifying my services so that I may have a more stable business for the future.”
”The WADA Artist Relief fund has enabled me to pay basic bills, so I can continue to work in the studio creating for the future while also working on new business methods, so I can adapt to the changes that Covid-19 has brought. It is giving me time to deal with the overwhelming reality of having my well developed plans and methods for showcasing my art suddenly become unavailable. Thank you for your support.”
Nancy Cohen is an artist in the Arts Xchange and a member of the WADA Board of Directors. She is a classical oil painter in the style of the Old Masters – lots of light and shadow and drama. And even though she was trained in the classical tradition, she is hardly conventional. To put it bluntly, she loves food. She likes to eat it and she likes to paint it! Her series called “THIS IS HOW I GOT SO FAT” features cakes and cupcakes, candy, ice cream, and a parade of pears and apples that look like a line of rockettes.
Nancy believes the secret to happiness is in noticing and appreciating the beauty in the everyday things of life. In her work, she tries to elevate the small and ordinary into something extraordinary. And she’s learned one important truth in art – EVERYONE loves a painting of a huge donut!
You can see her work at nancycohenstudio.com
We asked Nancy a few questions about her art and inspirations:
How long have you been a full-time artist? What other work do you do?
I've been a full time artist for 20 years. Before that, I was a respiratory therapist, a child care counselor, a professional fundraiser, I wrote really good computer manuals, I was a junior bond analyst, a professional speech writer, and the Director of Communications for a large NYC bank. When I was 50 I gave it all up and spent 3 years drawing and painting at the Art Students League of New York. After that I was hooked on being a painter and stopped earning any money.
What is your medium and why?
Oil painting. I love the smell and the gushy feel of the paint and the translucency.
What inspires you?
Beauty. Ordinary things that get transformed by light into something magical.
What's it like to be an artist in St Pete?
Why did you join the ArtsXchange and how has it informed your work?
I joined because I love people and painting and I get both at the ArtsXchange. I never liked the isolation of being an artist. I've been influenced by the very different work of the people around me and I know I've grown as an artist by being there.
What else arouses your passion besides art?
I'm a fairly high stakes poker player. I love the game, I love the degenerates who play, and I love the competition. But I'm not a gambler. I study the game, play the odds, and try to make the right decisions at every juncture. It's a good strategy in poker and in life.
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say?
Yes. Wear a mask!
Saumitra Chandratreya, one of the new artists who will be joining studio residents in the ArtsXchange this month, will bring a new medium to the artist collective. Saumitra is a fiber-installation artist who uses found objects, often deriving images from mainstream media or public sources, to create textiles, abstract prints and woven pieces for his contemporary works of art. With pop culture and social commentary playing an important role in his art, every piece of art has experiential elements that have brought him widespread recognition. Though he is a new resident, frequent ArtsXchange visitors will recall his exhibit last year titled "Everyday Obvious."
Saumitra was born in Mumbai, lives in both St. Petersburg and Chicago, and considers Bangalore, India, a third home. He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with a Master of Design in Fashion, Body, and Garment. He also has a BFA in Textile Design from the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore, India.
He was awarded one of the Individual Artist Grants from St. Petersburg Arts Alliance in 2020, Emerging Artist Grants from Creative Pinellas in 2018 and he was one of the emerging artists at the 2019 Gasparilla Festival of Arts in Tampa, FL. Saumitra was one of the selected artists for Inaugural Qinfolk Festival in Ithaca, NY. He was one of the Finalists who exhibited at the Union League Club of Chicago for Luminarts Cultural Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship Show. Saumitra was awarded the Shapiro Graduate research fellowship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was nominated by his department for the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His works have been collected nationally and internationally and his art has been written about extensively in the local media.
We asked Saumitra a few questions about his art and inspiration:
I have been practicing art professionally for about 12 years now. It has shifted in terms of how much of my time I’d dedicated to it because of both undergraduate and graduate schools but I am always working on something creative. I am a maker.
I use textiles as my primary medium but I have also started using readymade objects in my art. I enrolled in my undergraduate art school to become a product designer. As good art school foundation programs go, the education allowed me to question everything I was doing, I believed in and I was becoming confidant about my sexuality. I saw the work that textile design students were producing at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and I fell in love with the medium. I love the versatility, the inherent grace and dynamism of textiles. I felt like the possibilities are endless with textiles. So I decided to choose that as my specialization. From there on, I worked as a design intern at a natural dyeing and Shibori studio and then as a junior designer at a high end embroidery studio, before studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There, my principle advisor, Nick Cave, challenged me to step away from textiles for a while and that’s how I discovered ready-made objects. I started using them through weekly design projects and I really enjoy working with the history and meaning they bring to my arts practice.
I am inspired by day-to-day nuances of my identity, as a queer, non-binary, immigrant person of color and what it means to affirm these identities now, when we have been othered. What does it mean to be an artist with a voice? I am inspired by pop culture, LGBTQIA+ culture, fashion and day-to-day activism.
Why did you join the ArtsXchange and how do you feel that will inform or influence your work?
I have always thrived in a communal studio settings. I believe in the value other artists can add to my work through critiques and discussions. Through the 2nd Saturday Art-Walks and other community events I have been familiar with a lot of artists in the group. So when I was given the opportunity to be a part of the studio environment I was delighted. Having a professional studio will also help in adding more discipline to my practice and I am looking forward to that. Having a studio separate from home will also help me be more prolific in my arts practice.
Do you have any upcoming events?
I have a collaborative art show opening on August 17th at the Gallery 221, located at Hillsborough Community College, Dale Mabry Campus in Tampa. The title of the show is ‘Secret Language of Intimacy’. I collaborated with poet Kevin Mooney who lives in Venice, FL. I also have an art piece in the current Mize Gallery show, Sounds Good. To know more details about the show, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook.
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