Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Storytelling, since the beginning of time, has driven change, created movements, and empowered those who never knew they had a story to tell. Stories transform our personal experience, enrich our community and teach others the lessons we have learned for ourselves – they’re reliable patterns we can lean on in a world with no map. As an artist, creating stories is my way to uncover the certainty and significance from chaos and unsteadiness. After surviving a decade of trauma, I discovered this storytelling “survival strategy” as a lifeline, roadmap and anchor to myself. Creating stories become my lifeline, teaching me to turn this "detour" into the richest time of my life, through my art, theatre, writings and everyday celebration of ordinary miracles. To cope with years unable to eat or drink, I locked myself in my room and journaling thousands of pages, using Joseph Campbell's archetypal hero's journal to create a structure for my life that had lost all structure entirely. Not only did stories help my own personal transformation, they helped me reintegrate into society once I myself had transformed.

Trauma affected me in ways I could sense but not yet verbalize. Initially, I could only sense that my life was now separated by “pre-coma” and “post-coma.” I grappled with these opposing halves of my psyche, until I discovered music, dance, art, light and sound as means to convey how ten years of sexual and medical trauma had affected me.

These multidisciplinary aspects clicked with a quote from “The Body Keeps the Score,” a groundbreaking book on PTSD by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk: “The imprints of traumatic experiences are organized not as coherent logical narratives but in fragmented sensory and emotional traces: images, sounds, and physical sensations.”

Studying through the National Theater Institute, at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, I was further inspired by the multidisciplinary techniques of Simon McBurney and the Complicite Theatre Company. Their use of physical theatre, facial expressions, music and projection brought together multidisciplinary artists and ideas in revelatory ways. I realized that not only could I heal through multidisciplinary elements of theatre, I could also find the healing that comes from community and collaboration. I could make a difference with my story, AND finally, my story would be relatable, once transformed through artistic metaphor – or archetypes, I soon learned after devouring every word of Joseph Campbell and his passion for mythology.

As an artist, stories, leftovers and scraps are my life force. I'm a scavenger, telling stories through mixed media art, movement, music, and text to make reimagined meaning from catastrophe. I'm a “Detourist,” embracing unexpected routes as opportunities for creative growth, and the opportunity to build a culture based on empathy and inclusion. Literally reassembling the fragments of my life, after decade of life-shattering trauma, pushed me to create a roadmap where there was none, reframing my own narrative as I begun to reassemble the broken shards of the life I once knew, as a sculptor would reassemble broken glass into a breathtaking mosaic. I learned that resilience comes from the hope that as artists, we must create ourselves, out of these dismembered parts of our lives. Through transforming the aftermath of trauma into art, we create our own unique masterpiece, cultivating a bold, new identity that is uniquely ours…yet, this transformation draws us together in a universal narrative. I create to find the commonality, as well as the distinctiveness, in all of our “life detours.”

My art is honest, primal, vulnerable and involuntary. I share my art to to shift an entire community ethos in the direction of inclusion – partly to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a society that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place. I have witnessed firsthand how theatre can challenge ideas, create solutions and elevate our struggles to something heroic to triumph over – like a choose your own adventure novel. We have a choice in how we view our “call to adventure” and our “journey into darkness.” Perhaps that is why I never felt like a victim, even after years of being a medical guinea pig in two dozen hospitals, and the performance art that came from this, is a celebration of life’s beautiful detours, rather than a Greek Tragedy.

I create to feel heard in my heart, to find clarity and coherence between mind and body, and to let myself know I’m still in there after 27 surgeries. I create to share what I’ve learned from trauma, to feel connected to society, to earth, to the universe. I’ve missed them all so much, lost in a world of dissociation, coping, and merely getting through. I create to thrive, exist, transform and belong, and to start a vital conversation on how society views and creates to one another’s obstacles. Our archetypal journeys are beautiful detours, traveled more easily in solidarity, and they help us cultivate a shared resilience that is both universal and uniquely ours.

As an artist, stories, leftovers and scraps are my life force. I'm a scavenger, telling stories through mixed media art, movement, music, and text to make reimagined meaning from catastrophe. I love embracing unexpected routes as opportunities for creative growth, and the opportunity to build a culture based on a tapestry of chaos. Literally reassembling fragments of our lives pushes us to create roadmap through uncertainty, reframing the "victimized" narrative as we reassemble the shards of the life we've outgrown, as a sculptor would reassemble broken glass into a breathtaking mosaic. Resilience comes from the hope that as artists, we must create ourselves, out of these dismembered parts of our lives. Through reimagining the aftermath of trauma into art, we create our own unique masterpiece, cultivating a bold, new identity that's uniquely ours…yet, this transformation draws us together in a universal narrative. I'm an artist to plant these seeds of possibility.