Once, life was dim in Los Angeles and many people failed me. Now, I am a survivor.
I grew up working as a cutter in the garment industry, working by age 11. By this time, I'd already suffered early childhood molestations, neglect and mental abuse. When I reached 12, I was being raped until I left home at 14.
Fortunately, I had somewhere to go -- an older friend who helped me in a time of need. She allowed me to stay with her and this began my life of couch surfing. I hovered wherever, within a network of friends, in and out of my parents' house, and tried desperately to fend for myself.
Making it on my own was made worse by the fact that I had less than a seventh grade education. Before I turned nine years old, my parents often broke up and reunited, relocating us over a dozen times. I changed so many schools, I wound up falling way behind. I could hardly read, and so I quietly educated myself in public libraries. I didn't get a GED until I was 19.
I've worked just about every job you can think of: server, t-shirt printer, retail manager, bank teller, commercial cleaner, drug counselor, even a paid picketer. For at least a decade, I was also a professional drummer. Half that time played in a rock band that toured the U.S. and Canada, and we played for large audiences. I specialized in R&B/Hip Hop, groove with rock n' roll, and studied with notable drummers, musicians, and producers. Everyone I've ever known has influenced me in some way. My favorite drummers are Stevie Wonder, Prince and Clyde Stubblefield. And some of my biggest artistic influences are Paul Klee, Charles Bukowski, and John Lennon.
My painting compositions begin as crude, spontaneous, or even existential ideas. I am looking for answers, evolving, and discovering. I thoroughly enjoy the handmade, or anything that is well-crafted. Making art is like a personal redemption for me. It's a methodical, visionary activity I use to distract myself from a damaged past, and I allow little separation between my work and my life.
Most of my recent work draws upon the California landscape, the high desert in particular: no matter how abstract the work. I am interested in telling stories with subtle bits of architecture that meld into the large rock formations of the hills. I like expressing these narratives in oil paint, sometimes adding collage, like manila pattern paper or funky color schemes and patterns in various bolt fabrics. I love to work in watercolor as well. The media itself drives me forward.
Over the years, many happy people have purchased my work. I've collected a few testimonials here.
Finally, after nearly nine years of writing, I've recently finished my memoir, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley. I hope to publish it sometime in 2018.