"Libya Dawn Militants Play in the US Embassy Pool," 2016, handmade egg tempera, 18 x 10.5 cm, Private Collection
How did you get into debt?
In undergraduate school at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado I accrued $15,000 of debt while attending full time and working two jobs. This debt is now in a consolidated loan. I have $5,000 of this left to pay down. I accrued the majority of my debt ($48,000) in order to pay for graduate school tuition at the Maine College of Art. I took out Stafford unsubsidized and subsidized loans to attend two years full time, while working another job, and received an MFA.
"Isis Loots at Nimrud," 2016 handmade egg tempera on panel, 20 x 13 cm, Private Collection
How does your economic reality effect your art?
My works on panel are an intimate scale - in conversation with the traditions of Byzantine, Timurid and Safavid miniature painting. This allows me to work in very small studio spaces with minimal materials. Works in progress are portable for research-travel and a vagabond lifestyle. It is interesting to me that the transportability of historical miniature paintings in books contributed to their hybridizable nature- both in aesthetic and content, through gifting, conquest and translation. My work on panel takes part in this lineage. Seemingly to the contrary, a significant portion of my work is created at a very large scale. I work for weeks at a time, painting onsite directly onto the walls of exhibition locations with egg tempera that I prepare by hand while working to create fully immersive painting environments. This approach requires no studio space, no shipping, no purchase of large painting backgrounds, and no storage. Paint made by hand with pigments is not only exceptionally vivid and beautiful, but is also exponentially less costly. As the labour intensive and impermanent nature of my installation work is inseparable from its meaning; my economic reality has been indispensable in forming the heart of my practice today.
"We are Staying," 2015, handmade egg tempera, installation detail, 120 feet x 12 feet
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?:
It is impossible to say exactly in which way my work would look different if I was not in debt. Though, it is probable that being debt-free would have permitted me to maintain the wood and metals studio that I built while in graduate school. Instead, after a flood damaged the space, I sold all my tools and equipment unable to rent another space or continue working in sculpture. At this time I switched to painting as my primary medium.
"Keleti Station," 2016, handmade egg tempera, installation detail, 72 feet x 12 feet