23 • WISCONSIN
I’m an artist and co-owner of Studio Femme. Studio Femme is a public studio in Eau Claire shared by five women creatives. My practice is focused in painting and drawing.
photo by Kyle Lehman
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I grew up immersing myself in art classes and leadership opportunities. I went to UW-Stout for 4.5 years where I pursued painting and art history, but recently dropped out to commit more of my time to my work.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE AN ARTIST?
I am an artist because I
feel empowered by other
artists. I have a perspective worth sharing.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY
I have a few commissions that I’m currently working on, and I’m developing a body of work that is focused on femininity and power. I use painting as a tool to process my relationship with my body as a queer woman, and my experience as a lover in all senses of the word. Painting is my journey to healing.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN THEMES OF YOUR CREATIVE PROJECTS?
Most of my work speaks to feminism, self love and sex positivity. I want my audience consider the ways their perspectives are shaped by a
cis-hetero-patriarchy. The goal
of my work is to shift how viewers perceive the world and those in it.
WHAT IS YOUR
AS AN ARTIST?
I was in the Nasty Woman Art Exhibition in NYC after the 2016 presidential election. The show made national headlines as a response to our president being a racist, transphobic, xenophobic sexual predator.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD
YOU GIVE YOUR
You’ll understand who you are soon. You know you’re different, and I know that feels a little scary, but that is the best goddamn thing about you. If you can just take the time to know yourself and love yourself, you will be happy. Make yourself a priority.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE YOU'VE DONE?
My favorite piece is probably my self portrait, because it was such an intense process of understanding who I am and how I view my body. I had to practice honesty and vulnerability, which was challenging. Instead of using my work to empower others, I was pushed to empower myself.
WHAT JOBS HAVE YOU DONE OTHER THAN BEING AN ARTIST?
I grew up in my grandparents restaurant, so I was always working—washing dishes, cleaning tables. Through high school and early college I mainly had service jobs. Once I settled into college I worked some incredible jobs as an events coordinator for a woman’s resource center, two lgbtq+ resource centers, and a gender & sexuality alliance. Now I’m currently working a part time 9-5 gig at a print shop in Eau Claire called Ambient Inks where we produce and manage merch for cool artists and orgs! It’s important that my jobs allow flexibility for me to have time in the studio.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED OVER TIME?
My work has changed as I’ve changed. I am not the artist I was a year ago and I expect to be a completely different artist next year. With time comes a plethora of experiences to make art for and about.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OR ARTIST?
My favorite piece is The Artist is Present by Marina Abramović.
WHAT IS ONE THING NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
When I was 19, I dropped everything and moved to Southern California where I studied studio art, art history, feminist theory and gender and sexuality. I studied the intersections of all these subjects and presented my research at a conference called “The Subjects of Art.” This experience set the foundation for my current work.
DOES YOUR WORK COMMENT ON CURRENT SOCIAL OR POLITICAL ISSUES?
Yes. After years of studying feminism and advocating for my queer community, this dialogue naturally shows up in my work. I think it’s important to respond to social issues if you have any platform. As a white woman, I address whiteness. As a queer woman I address heteronormativity, homophobia, and transphobia. As an activist, I address the ways silence is violent.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME EVENTS THAT HAVE HELPED SHAPE WHO YOU ARE AS AN ARTIST?
Each and every event has shaped me and informs my practice in one way or another. My queerness, my femininity, my relationship with my body, my financial status, my access to educational resources, my loving family—all of these things are factors of how and why I make art.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE ARTIST HAVE IN SOCIETY?
The artists role is to respond to the world. To empower. To practice honesty. To share light.
WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT
THE ART WORLD?
A lot. Let’s have a productive conversation about it.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
Jenny Saville, Chloe Wise, Tina Maria Elena Bak, Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, David Wojnarowicz, Barbara Kruger, Marina Abramović, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Johanna Reign.
WHAT ARE YOUR
GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
One main goal is to create ways my art can be more accessible to the public, whether that is through prints, public art installations, or collaborations. I hope to use more of my time to work with fellow artists whose vision and intentions align with mine and learn from each other.