Where do you live? St. Louis, Missouri, but I’m moving to New York City soon (on September 1st).
Where did you go to school/what are your education plans? I just graduated this May with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Truman State University and am now attending graduate school to pursue a Master of Science in Data Analytics and Visualization in the Katz School of Science and Health at Yeshiva University.
Describe your art practice: My art practice is mostly a hobby. I don’t feel whole without creating something, and painting is the thing that I have naturally gravitated towards. If I have a few days off of school, I really like to be holding a paintbrush. I enjoy exploring with detail and texture. It’s inspiring and challenging for me to try and capture emotions and scenes with different styles and levels of detail.
What’s your primary artistic media: Gouache and acrylic paint
Describe your studio! Where do you make art? Funnily enough, I basically turned my bedroom into a mini studio. My designated studio space is just a corner of my bedroom with my paints and an easel.
How has the pandemic and social unrest affected your projects? What about you personally? Undoubtedly, pandemic and social unrest have impacted my post-graduation plans and my outlook on society. I’ve been fortunate enough to be relatively safe and comfortable in my own home. Being locked up in St. Louis, I’ve had lots of time to think and reflect. Quarantine has encouraged me to look back to the basics, in the sense that I focus on finding time to spend with my family and friends and the general decrease of chaos in my schedule is a good reminder for me to focus on the little things that bring me happiness and value. On a different note, the social unrest has given me the insight to learn, listen, and speak out. Hearing the stories of discrimination and violence is truly disheartening. However, it’s inspiring to see people come together and use their voices for justice. It’s been a stunning example of how using our voices and coming together can create social change. Every voice truly does matter. Although there is still much left to do, I’ve definitely been inspired to use my voice and platform to educate and learn about people’s experiences, use this opportunity to learn how to listen, and expand my viewpoint and empathy.
When did you start making art? Did you take any formal art classes? I started making art by myself, out of pure boredom really, around twelve years-old. I actually hated art before that. I kept trying to compare myself to the other kids in my class and didn’t like being tied down by the rules set in elementary school art classes. I was never really good at coloring in the lines. Other than a few drawing/painting classes in high school and in college I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different types of media and trying to make “rules” my own. Since then, I’ve been inspired to work with simple details and experiment with texture. My hope is to inspire people to be creative and let their imagination guide them to looking at simple things from different viewpoints. I am also still learning how to do this myself and creating art is just a natural way for me to experiment and self reflect. I also think that being creative is just part of my nature. If I’m not creating something, oftentimes I don’t really feel complete. I want to give some inspiration back to the world that consistently fuels my imagination.
What/who are your major artistic influences? I am really inspired by artists like Matisse and Van Gogh. Their unique styles drive me to embrace my imagination and be true to myself.
What is your favorite work of art? I really like “The Red Room” and “Interior with Egyptian Curtain” by Henri Matisse. I think it’s captivating how a few well-placed lines establish the perspective for the entire piece. It really makes you think about how a few cleverly laid details can push our brains to comprehend an entire scene. I definitely spent a lot of time staring at these pieces at the Matisse in the Studio exhibition, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
If you weren’t a physics student/artist what would you do instead?I would probably do something in the field of Earth Science and Environmental Conservation. Even if I ended up pursuing that, I think I would still be making art. Creating is just natural for me, and I often feel incomplete without it.
How do art and physics mesh? What do your colleagues think of your art practice? Physics and art, although seemingly two different universes, are actually quite similar. For me, they are both rooted in the interpretations of the physical world. With physics, I get to experience more quantitative and mathematical interpretations. In this field, with each new understanding/concept, the way I look at the physical world transforms. That’s what makes it so thrilling for me. With art, I get to tailor my interpretation through different lenses, like social influence, and emotion. I find that with art there is a bit more of a personal touch there. Bringing both of these together, art has been a useful tool for outreach and finding creative ways to communicate scientific concepts. Generally, I am inspired by physics and astronomy. Sometimes I bring them into my paintings, and sometimes I don’t. I think my paintings end up reflecting what’s inspiring me at the moment.
Describe your ideal summer day: I would love to cloud watch on the beach surrounded by animals and nature. Maybe with a few paints and a sketchbook too. I generally enjoy being outside. Oddly, it feels more natural for me to be outside rather than inside.