How does it feel to be recognized as an artist?
I have always considered myself an artist in one form or another—even though I only started showing my work publicly since this past July. Up until then only close friends and family saw the work that I did. They always encouraged me to go public; never had the desire. I never really did my art for others to see. It was more of an emotional thing for me. My creative moments happened most often when I needed to process something going on in my life, good or bad. Now that I am showing my work publicly I am finding myself sharing very intimate and personal moments with complete strangers. I enjoy these interactions and they inspire me to explore more of what I have to offer from within. Being recognized as an artist is only secondary to being recognized as a good citizen of the world. If my art helps others be the same, then I consider myself successful.
What advice do you have for others looking for inspiration to their art?
Most of my inspiration for my art comes from my life experiences. The things in life that hold chapter titles in my unwritten biography. So, my only piece of advice is to get out there, make more chapters and truly live life. Then use your craft to share those experiences with the world community. Don’t be apologetic in your creativity—without restriction or boundary.
What do you like most about the Art of War project?
There are a lot of different challenges for military veterans when they are trying to reintegrate into the public after their military service. Some have physical injuries, others have internal injuries. For most it is the social and cultural differences between military life and civilian life. The Art of War project is somewhere any veteran can come, socialize with fellow veterans and explore various forms of art. We strive to provide a safe environment, free of the stresses they may be facing in their day to day life. With Art of War’s affiliation with VFW Post 1, these veterans are also able to show their artwork to the public, free of charge, at the Post’s gallery space in the Santa Fe Art District. Along with showing their work, veterans are also invited to collaborate with other community organizations—providing them a purpose and sense of community. There are a lot of great projects ahead for those involved with Art of War. It’s hard not to be excited about it.
What do you like about RMCAD?
Being that it is only my second term at RMCAD, I am still getting my feet wet here. I have truly enjoyed the instructors I have had. They have taken their time to get to know me as a student. I am a nontraditional student, working full time during the day and then taking night on-campus courses along with online classes. Because of this restricted schedule I am limited in the courses I can take. The Commercial Photography Degree seemed to fit my schedule and goals the best. I enjoy the fine arts and they will always have a place in my life. I am looking forward to being educated in the craft of photography and curious to see if there is a place for me within the commercial photography/photojournalism community.