As many of you may have seen, my face and my paper appeared in a commercial for Cadillac for their Dare Greatly campaign, first airing during the Oscars broadcast. I cannot even explain how incredibly honored I feel for being chosen to be a part of this- everyone should take the time to read the stories of each person featured. There are amazing people doing amazing things, even at such a young age.
I am amazed that I was able to feature my art, but am especially excited to be able to stand as a heart transplant representative. Even with all the knowledge we have, transplants are still a rare occurrence and I am one of the oldest survivors for a single organ at this date in time. I want to be open about my work and my personal medical experiences- if you have any questions please feel free to ask me!
Click here to view the special page about me and my work on Cadillac’s Dare Greatly website.
Thank you again to everyone at Cadillac! #DareGreatly
On April 24, after 5 months nonstop of papercutting, I opened my biggest show yet called Vascular Caverns at 707 Gallery in Downtown Pittsburgh. The idea was one that I always had with me, so somehow I had to plan out covering a whole entire gallery in entirely handcut paper. I knew I wanted it to be meditative, so I created a cavernous space, and included a smaller, secluded cavern within the gallery that viewers could step inside. It was a huge success and it’s on view for some time. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, come see it! At the end of the exhibit’s time, I will be burning the entire installation during a performance piece- more info to come!
So I’m not the only artist in the family. My sister happens to be the best videographer I’ve ever encountered. Seriously, I’ve scoured Vimeo trying to find an equal to her editing that will push you to cry, feel butterflies, and embrace a sudden surge of inspiration….. all within three minutes.
Recently we went to Las Vegas and I took some photos of her for her blog, Heart + Camera. She has a way with cameras, whether it be used for video or one single snapshot. So take a look, and if you want to see some of her videos go to Cabana Pictures Blog. It’s where both her and her husband post videos and blurbs from their life as videographers.
Things this month have been absolutely amazing and absolutely busy! I am proud to announce that I am the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 VSA Young Emerging Artist Program with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.! This year’s theme was “The Journey,” and prompted artists to submit their work that concerned their own personal journeys living with a disability. With this award, my piece is exhibited in the Smithsonian in Washington, it is also part of a nationally traveling exhibition, and I receive a cash prize of $20,000. I have been invited, along with the other 14 winners, to attend a Congressional Reception in January so I’m already starting to plan my outfit! I am extremely honored to be receiving this award and am so excited to see what this next year holds for me.
My winning papercut sculpture, Never Stopping, deals with my experiences as a heart transplant recipient, specifically the overwhelming feelings related to my physical issues as well as the desire for healing. The entire original sculpture is about 16 ft in height and is made entirely of handcut paper. I also added screenprinted cutouts of hands, legs, oranges, and bananas. These symbolize offerings and milagros, or physical representations of intentions. The idea behind it was for the viewer to become overwhelmed with the structure, in order to mimic my own feelings. For the Kennedy Center, I brought the piece down to a smaller scale, which you can see in the photo.
My transplant is a major part of my life, and I am open to any questions readers might have. I received my heart at the age of 14 months at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. That transplant team became my family, and I am always going back every now and then to visit. They still follow up with me and my procedure results even though I have switched to the cardiology team at UPMC Children’s Hospital. Right now, I still have my original heart making my transplant one of the oldest single organ transplants in the country.
This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays. It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast! I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding. Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground. But I did it and everything turned out so perfect. Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery. There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by! The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.
Boys setting up the scaffolding.
Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall. Yes, they’re all handcut!
These photos are from the week before my show in Oakalnd at Hat Rac Gallery. There are always last minute things to get ready, and I was still making work up until the end. Some pieces shown didn’t make it into the show, but instead just stayed home being beautiful.
What an awful title for this post… sorry but that’s all I’ve got for you right now. It’s late here and titles aren’t going to be produced from this mind anytime soon. The point is, here’s the finished piece. Surprisingly, this took me much longer to make than I expected. Here was the process:
– Take a sheet of Rives BFK and handpaint the turmeric ink on it. With this one, I wanted to put only a slight amount of water. So I used a squirt bottle and sprayed light amounts of water in certain spots. I use the word “handpaint” because I literally put gloves on and painted it on with my fingers. There was a certain airy look I wanted and I knew I’d only get it this way. Plus, I felt a little distanced from my pieces with a brush. Don’t know what that change is about, but that’s what’s going on.
– Make the drawing. I drew the little shapes in pencil and was careful to not smear the turmeric anymore. It isn’t set on there, and there are still pretty big chunks of the spice…
– Make the cutouts… BFK is awful to cut through. I don’t know why I do this to myself. I had to take two trips to the hot springs out here to get the pain out of my arm….
– Make the drawings on a second sheet of rice paper that align with the BFK cutouts. Then cut those little guys out…
-Add the final layer of BFK on the back.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with some new ideas. Well really, these are ideas that have been brewing in my brain for some time and need to just get out. So, here they are, out in the open, and looking for a direction to go in. These little triangle guys are a particular favorite of mine but I’m not sure where I want it to go. I’ve covered them in wax, burnt them and here they are dyed with ink. I’ve dyed them with turmeric which I love, but I’m not sure if I like the wax. They look so much more delicate and like coral which is the inspiration.
I’m doing a show at Hat Rac Gallery in Oakland in a bit and am thinking of doing an installation with these little guys. They won’t be little, of course. They have this great front window that has so much space and light that I have to go crazy with whatever I put there. Looks like a lot of cutting in the future… This little white situation here is a kind of collage. It’s a rice paper cutout on top of BFK paper. I like keeping the pencil lines in there. Even though I won’t be using this piece for anything, I just wanted to try it out. I would love to be able to use a press to roll it through and make an even, clean pressing.