How did you turn your creative passion into a career?
In my case, my career goals started right after high school. I went straight to university to pursue a BFA, and then straight to grad school for my MFA. I did segue into teaching at the post-secondary level for over a decade but art was always at the forefront. I’ve been very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time—and have the right people see my work. However, it also helps that I’m friendly, outgoing and sincere, because at the end of the day, it’s not just about a product, it’s also about what you represent and who you are.
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut? Where do your sources of inspiration come from?
I meditate and submerge myself into the things that will guide me towards seeing the thing that’s inside of me wanting to make its way out. Often it takes time. Like, a lot of time. But I’ve learned to never lose hope or take my eye/mind off the target. The blocks will eventually disintegrate to show you the beautiful thing that’s been hiding behind it. Solitude and nature help, and of course, gallery visits, talking to fellow artists and good old visual research—usually online for all the fascinating and beautiful pictures that act as inspiration.
What is one thing about yourself that people would be surprised to hear?
I am currently in a creative lull, and as a result, I doubt and second-guess my talents.
Out of all the pieces you’ve created, which are you most proud of? What holds the most meaning?
I’m quite proud of the interior design I did for Calcutta Cricket Club
. It has a special place in my heart because it was the first time I’d attempted to design a space, let alone a commercial restaurant. I was wet behind the ears when I started, but came out more than satisfied with the outcome. As icing on the cake, the restaurant won Best Restaurant Design
in all of Canada by Canada’s 100 Best Magazine
, so that was really special. Another piece that gives me a sense of accomplishment is the mural
I did for La Maisons Simon’s
in Calgary’s downtown core. Is was a feat to single handedly produce a mural that was over 1000 square feet, squeezing myself into the tiniest spaces and most awkward angles. It was challenging to create work at that scale, while also making it look texturally like an oil painting. The concept was open so it also allowed me to take some liberties which was refreshing.
What women have impacted your life the most (personally or professionally)?
My mother has been the biggest advocate, supporter and advisor to me throughout my entire life. Even now, a year shy of 80, she is still the one I still lean on when my struggles get real. My two girlfriends, Ashley Donahoe and Tracy Berglund, are both my dearest friends who champion my cause and always offer fresh perspectives and the best advice when I need it most. Both are beautiful souls and strong, grounded women. From a professional point of view, Alice Neel
, the artist, is my biggest inspiration for the way she marched to the beat of her own drum in a world that was dominated by men. She approached her life and work with a devil-may-care attitude, and I am always inspired by the freedom she was awarded by not giving a hoot. Plus, I love her work.