Artist Influences

Sue Williams

One of the first paintings I ever saw that made a dramatic impact on me as an artist was ‘It’s a New Age, 1992.’ It seemed as if Sue Williams tore a page out of her journal to share with the world. The words “I chose yellow. I’m not sorry.” screamed at me as I stared upon it with wonder. It gave me permission to make whatever choices I deemed fit, and it’s become the mantra I say as I make choices in my art.

No More Pink

Valerie Hegarty 

I met her after she did an artist talk at the Art Institute of Chicago. A professor introduced me to her saying ‘I needed a good influence like Valerie,’ and to Valerie at my dismay, ‘You’d be impressed at what this one can do.’  I remember being dumbfounded feeling I had a million questions and no voice to ask them. We’ve emailed over the years after I found my voice and she’s been generous with her time and kindness. She’s invited me to New York more than once to view her studio and attend one of her exhibition openings. Soon that will become a reality.

Valerie Hegarty/Childhood Bedroom

Kara Walker: Starting Out

I had the good fortune of meeting Kara Walker at a talk she gave at The University of Chicago while I was studying at the Art Institute. I was one of the few students who had the luxury of getting a one-on-one talk with her. She spoke to me deep down into my soul. I was just finding my footing and had a strong pull to hold on to my personal narrative in the work I was creating even though all of my professors kept trying to force me to let it go. She spoke about how personal her work was and when I came to her so unsure of what I should do she was the first person to tell me not to let go of my narrative. She did however tell me that if I was being told over and over again that I needed to part with it, my work wasn’t good enough and I needed to try harder, to take each criticism as a guide towards better work. Her words have been the most inspiring truth I’ve ever been told and I hold on to those words with all my might that they may continue to remind me of how hard I must work to make my personal narrative reach out and touch another soul.

Kara Walker/Art21

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

During my first semester at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I was introduced to the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres in my first class dealing with art theory. It was my introduction to the world of contemporary art and I was at a great disadvantage with my gross lack of knowledge on the subject. I stayed up days at a time reading everything I could about art theory, contemporary artists and art criticism. As I read I found a similar trend in most of the successful work of contemporary artists. Their work was profound yet simple. They found a way to say so much with very little. The work unfolded like an onion, one layer at a time until the whole thing was laid bare and I was in awe with that concept. Felix-Gonzalez-Torres was no exception and with the themes of time and memory ever present in his work he’s been a constant source of inspiration as I deal with the same themes. I remember my first interview I read of his and I remember him saying he despised sketchbooks and how they became precious archives. He didn’t like that so he scribbled his ideas on scraps of paper and threw them out as soon as the work was finished. ‘The work should be enough,’ he said.

Bomb Magazine Interview

The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

Andrea Rosen Gallery

Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.); The Art Institute of Chicago

William Kentridge

His drawings and animations show the passage of time and each piece holds the memory of the story he tells. They are a palimpsest of themselves, the smudges left in order to remember what came before. He does not shy away from the truth. He shares it with the world in order to better understand it.

How We Make Sense of the World

Cy Twombly

“Inspired by ancient Mediterranean history and geography, Greek and Roman mythology, and epic poetry, Twombly created—sometimes on a grand scale, in multiple-panel works—a sometimes-inscrutable world of iconography, metaphor, and myth.” –

He leaves his ideas raw, for all to see on his canvas. He exposes every piece of himself in the work and I find myself grateful to be able to witness such wonder, such vulnerability, such strength.

Laurie Anderson

When the work I was making in the sound studio began to take a turn towards storytelling and documentary sound pieces I was turned on to the work of Laurie Anderson. She is brilliant and someone we can all learn so much from.

A Life of Storytelling

John Cage

As a student of sound art you cannot help but come to love John Cage. I am fascinated and in awe of the way he saw the world. The simplicity in enjoying the interruption of quiet and how those sounds remind us that we are never alone.

On Silence

I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It

Francis Alÿs

I am fascinated by the simplicity of this work. The small feat made by so many coming together. It may seem insignificant, but in truth he truly change the face of the earth. In a small way yes, but how many people can have an impact like that?

Johnathan Ehrenberg

A combination of painting, sculpture and video art. His exploration of time, especially in the video ‘Seed’ is something worth seeing.

Rachel Whiteread; Filling Empty Spaces

Rachel Whiteread: a life in art

Rachel Whiteread: ‘It’s my mission to make things more complicated’

Ann Hamilton

She leaves me speechless.