Describe your process. What inspires you and how do you plan and prepare for each piece?
Most of the time I’ll envision a simple shape—two intersecting triangles, a series of circles, etc. Other times, with site specific work, the space will inform the perimeters of the work. Then there are the times when the viewer will inform the next piece. For instance, with Intersect, some people at the opening wanted to see the installation from below. They spontaneously laid down one-by-one, and then in full on groups, underneath the piece. Usually I’d be worried about people getting too close to the work, having strings get tangled, etc. but I trusted them. Plus, I was really curious to see their reactions. That moment informed my following installation, Expanse. I designed two chairs that sat underneath two adjacent tunnels of suspended triangles and invited viewers to lay back and look up into the work. Each section had different color patterns hidden inside. That said, how I begin a piece can vary.
After the shape/idea is sketched out, I’ll continue to evolve it, bring in color, decide on dimensions, and research what it will actually take to build it. This can also mean figuring out the supporting materials—wood, metal, acrylic, etc.
If I’m working on an installation or a 2D paper piece, I’ll bring it into Illustrator next, and further develop color narratives, patterns, and begin working on the math. I’ve tried doing this is CAD but I’ve found, for me, that using layers in illustrator allows me to break the physical layers up, dissect the overlapping patterns, and work on the math—yes there is actual math involved. Depending on the scale of the piece, I’ll then use Excel to keep track of every single string, how many paper objects are on it, what number is in what row, what the incremental measurements are between paper triangles, which triangles are which colors, etc. It gets extremely technical and if I’m not 100% organized, it can become very confusing. Plus, this is so much easier to communicate when I have people helping me construct the work. The 2D work is just as meticulous, but not nearly as difficult to organize.
When all of the prep is complete, I finally start to work. That’s when I can zone out and meditate. Sometimes it can feel a bit like a factory assembly line and other times, like dissecting an ant. My mind goes back and forth between intense concentration and completely zoning out on the task at hand. It can be a difficult process because I want to jump ahead to the making/hands-on part, but for this type of work it usually ends up being the final 30% of the whole process.
To tie it all together, the meaning behind the work usually comes to me last. The title will jump out at me and I’ll jot down a single word in my sketchbook. A lot of times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for the artist statement. When the work is completed the story will naturally emerge on its own.