My primary artistic concern is the enlightening discovery of self by providing a candid encounter with the emotions and experiences of others.
This interest stemmed from witnessing the vastly different, yet similar, cultures and lifestyles of friends from my home state, New York, and the new friends I made in college, in Louisiana. I quickly realized that people were my muses. People often times judge each other prematurely and distance themselves from others based on predisposed notions, societal stereotypes, and feeling disconnected from those around them. Observing, and conversing with my peers about their life experiences, and reflecting on my own, I came to learn and believe that there are multiple sides, or faces, to each of us—the person we want to be, the person we think we are, and the person that we think society expect us to be. The expression of each of these "selves", and the emotions they invoke, heavily influence how our personal identity is developed and is directly responsible for how we view ourselves and interact with others.
My senior thesis, entitled Empathy & Enlightenment, included portraits that depict raw emotion in a realistic way that summon a combination of both intrigue and discomfort in the viewer. With a sense of invading the privacy of the subjects in the portraits, the audience is drawn into their world wondering who they are and what caused this feeling. Unexpectedly the viewer engages on a personal level with the subject and reflects on their own emotions and experiences, and how those have influenced their current self.
I aim to influence self-reflection in my audience by calling attention to their inner-most fears, thoughts, feelings, and desires—and acknowledging those same characteristics in others—with the purpose of forging unity. Discovering the similarities between themselves and people they cross paths with daily (or strangers across the globe) would bridge a long open gap that people from different walks of life find themselves toeing with great hesitance. I hope my work allows people to lower that veil of separation and open themselves up the world around them. With portraits that express pure emotion, I want to encourage people to discover who they truly are without the imposing scope of societal expectations, negativity, and crude judgement—and to view others for who they truly are through that same empathetic lens.