Who Am I? I am a story teller. The words come from pages of my journals and are brought to life with paint and collage to create a visual imagery. My purpose is simply to acknowledge the existence of individuals who profoundly influenced my view of life. Many are from my own personal experiences, others come from memories shared by someone else.
Human trafficking in New Mexico is a big problem. Two years ago I began the series WALLS when a local organization asked me to provide images for use in a campaign protesting this inhuman practice. Several of my images of the children were particularly dark. But if we don’t look deeply into their eyes and hear their voices, we continue to ignore the problem. My current series HOPE reflects a more positive view of life. While I prefer to speak to groups of twenty or smaller, larger organizations have also invited me to share. In October 2018 The Women’s Play Project in Colorado invited me to read the poem “Why” as my drawing was reflected on the big screen in a large theater. While I’ve presented my work that way several times, it’s only been for very large audiences.
During my readings I personally introduce the listeners to the invisible people we often overlook: lost boys, run-away girls, abused and trafficked children, battered women, mentally ill elders, the homeless, frightened and exhausted families seeking asylum at the border. I find them in the woods, on park benches, in hospitals, and prisons. I call them the invisibles, those we never see as we go about our everyday life. I offer to pay them to pose for portraits or photographs. Some ask that I alter their image. A few refuse to talk about themselves, but others are hungry to be heard. My stories also come from apparently average, normal people who are burdened with health issues, deaths in the family, disappointments, and heartbreak that bruise their spirits and fracture their vision of hope.
Since there are many layers to a person’s character, shaped by the impact of their life experiences, I use collage along with pencil and paint to reveal their hidden spirit. By peeling back the layers of their lives, the true person begins to emerge from underneath, their innermost being longing to be heard and hopefully understood.