I am a Queer, Physically Disabled, Mentally Ill, Female Artist. Each of these identities has shaped my life, my artistic voice, and how I derive my sense of purpose in this world. They’ve brought deep shame and exquisite beauty and everything in between. Since receiving my BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2014 I moved to Minnesota to pursue a career as an artist. As an East Coast transplant, I was fortunate to find a home for myself at Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center where I rent studio space to create my own art, teach blacksmithing and welding classes, consign in the gallery shop, and serve on the Board of Directors. There’s truly nothing more magical than being in this space, playing with fire and metal, and sharing musings with the vast array of characters that pass through. In my artistic practice I currently work in two realms: conceptual art and functional sculpture. Often I work on a project in both realms simultaneously, bouncing back and forth between them, to let them inform one another and to accommodate the ping-ponging cycles of my beautifully Bipolar mind. Each of my conceptual art projects are borne from a chapter in my own life’s story. While they get their roots from my life, they blossom into works that encompass the stories of many others and reach farther than I could have initially envisioned. My functional sculptures (think railings, arbors, tables, and small housewares) on the other hand tend to be whimsical and lyrical in their aesthetic qualities; challenging, complex, and experimental in their construction and design. I’ve never been one for taking the easy route. After my most recent surgery, recognizing my need for additional support, for the first time I invited an intern into my studio practice. Having Beth Onward work with me has truly revolutionized my practice. I now have the incredibly humbling opportunity to pass on the knowledge and techniques I’ve developed over the last decade plus and contribute to an early-career artist’s formative development, while also easing the burden on my body and mind by receiving assistance with what I can no longer safely do on my own. Knowing that my mobility will continue to become increasingly more limited over time due to the effects of Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndome, having assistance in the studio is crucial to my ability to continue creating the ambitious and physically demanding artwork I dream of. Each day that I continue to create, I lay my head on my pillow with a full heart, an appreciation for my tired and painful body, and gratitude for my relentlessly over-thinking, creative problem-solving mind. And then each morning I wake up and get to do it all again. I’m one of the lucky ones who lives my passion and purpose fully and completely and shares it with anyone who will listen.