I am visually inspired by the environment. Moving beyond landscapes and literal representation, I’m interested in uniquely beautiful abstract organic forms, colors and shapes, already present in environments and subtle to the point that they can be easily overlooked.
As someone passionate about sustainability and environmental justice, I’ve felt complacent creating work simply from natural beauty. Recently I’ve tried to examine themes of access to environmental beauty and place through imagery influenced by water. After spending several summers working at a boat dock on a small glacial lake in the Rocky Mountains, I’ve spent hours staring at crisp reflective water and the forms it creates while ebbing and flowing.
Yet in my work, I think about how access to clean reflective water is a privilege. In taking many urban planning courses recently, I’ve been struck by the history of racial zoning in the U.S., and how this has shaped patterns of environmental injustice and environmental racism. Specifically, people of privilege have access to clean environments like air and water, and in turn, marginalized communities have higher risks of exposure to toxically polluted environments. These trends are embedded in discriminatory urban planning tactics. People of color and vulnerable communities are more likely to be located near toxic waste facilities and other environmental hazards, and the associated health risks.
This has been reflected in my work with map-like inspired images of the vibrant colors of zoning maps. The use of bright and exuberant yet heavy colors serves to reflect on the colors of toxins and pollutants. Coupled with my inspiration from flowing water, the bright colors used reflect the flow of toxins, holding the environmental beauty and questions of access in tension.
Sometimes I feel like a painter who accidentally fell into printmaking; I love the instant gratification of painting and the endless opportunity for expressive strokes of color. I am drawn to pushing my use of color in printmaking. I’ve recently been drawn to viscosity zinc plates, a process that allows for varied use of colors and layering. Recently working with small zinc plates forces my detail to remain quite small, but I hope to begin working with these themes of environmental justice and examining beauty, equity, and access to natural environments on a larger scale.