visual artist

I’m very excited to announce that I was accepted into a juried exhibition at the Painting Center in NYC! The theme of the show seemed perfectly designed for me. Each artist was selected because they are also educators.

Show details:

July 18-August 10

RECEPTION: THURSDAY, JULY 18, 6 – 8 PM (I will be present!)

The Painting Center
547 West 27th Street, Suite 500 (5th Floor)
New York, NY, 10001
Gallery is located on west 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue.

(212) 343-1060

Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Here’s a little about my relationship between teaching and art-making:

As a high school painting and drawing teacher, I must demonstrate and be willing to make artwork in front of my students and to narrate my internal artistic decisions. Many of my students arrive to my class having never made artwork, and the process seems elusive, magical and only for the genetically-gifted. The process of demonstration, in all of its clumsiness, serves as a tool for humanizing the artistic process. 

Eight years ago, I wanted to teach my students how to work with positive and negative space through the medium of cut paper.  I started creating examples, cutting and arranging compositions on the document camera as my students watched, and I was hooked. More importantly, my students’ interest was piqued by the palpable joy in my artistic discovery. I started to develop my own methods of combining painting, cut paper and colored pencil into odd bio-mechanical forms that seem to mingle and battle in a smoky realm.  This method of working grew into an entire body of work that continues to evolve. The mixed media collage method invigorated my practice because it was more about experimentation and play then my patient observational paintings. The spirit of “What if?” spilled from my teacher self into my artist self. It was as if teaching this cut paper Notan project gave me the license to unleash and illuminate my internal world. 

My artwork impacts my teaching because I feel accountable to my students to update them on my creative exploration; sharing with them my successes and failures.  I bring my paintings into class several times a year and I open myself to critique from my students. It’s a fascinating process for both sides, and it shows my students what it means to be a practicing artist who feels vulnerable, confused and excited about their artwork.  

I’ve been teaching high school full-time for the past 13 years.  It’s a constant battle to preserve enough energy to paint at the end of my teaching day.  It’s a hard balance to strike. Everyone I talk to about my dual life as an artist/public school art teacher thinks I’m either totally nuts or pities my plight. However, teaching has benefitted my art practice in wonderful ways.  I’m at ease in talking about my work in front of a crowd. I can facilitate a difficult art critique with teenagers and adults alike. I understand how to set objective performance goals for artwork, and I understand where my artistic biases lie. I crave a future where I’ll be able to be a full-time artist, and in many ways my teaching career is helping me secure that future.  In the meanwhile, I know I’m contributing to my community in lasting ways. One of my professors in my teaching credential program once told me “at the core of teaching art is showing your students how to be creative.” I’ve taken that to heart; knowing that only a small fraction of my students will pursue the life of a fine art professional, but they all can know the joy and challenge of solving a creative dilemma with their hands and their minds.