Buena Park, CA
I have been an artist all my life, inspired and encouraged by my father, an artist himself. I have also known from early on how medical issues can impact a person and their views of the world. I was diagnosed early in life with scoliosis, and then added the diagnosis of arthritis as an adult in the 1980s. Though this caused much pain, I continued to paint and draw a mix of subjects. I soon began to focus more and more on flowers, from bud and bloom to decay and disintegration. The real turning point for me came in 1984 when I was in a near fatal auto accident requiring three months of hospitalization in intensive care.
After my physical recovery, I began to study Gross Anatomy at the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. I became Artist-in-Residence studying directly from human cadavers at the very hospital that I was airlifted to following the car accident. I sought spiritual healing through the exploration and representation of the human body. Believing that looking into the human body, I could somehow come to better understand how the body works, and about the fragility of human life. During this time I introduced anatomical forms and body parts into my work. My flowers became withered, fragmented, blown apart, and ultimately about mortality. The works are autobiographical, self-portraits in the literal and metaphorical sense. Many are detailed compositions incorporating renderings of anatomical and botanical forms, interweaving flowers from my garden with scans, printouts and x-rays of my body.
Art plays an extremely important part in my ability to live with my orthopedic condition. The arthritis is painful, and limits the number of consecutive hours that I can paint and draw. But it is the creation of art itself that makes me look forward to every new day, and makes me more determined to overcome the pain. At the same time, it reminds me that I am grateful to still be alive. Every morning when I put my feet on the floor and feel the pain, I am reminded that I am a survivor and have more art to create.