Ali and I have known each other since college. She and I moved onto the same floor of the then titled, New House dormitory, (now called Stever Hall), at Carnegie Mellon University in late August of 2003.
We were the only art majors on our floor and I felt at the time that was pretty lucky considering how small the art school was and how diverse the housing situation was for incoming freshmen that year, (most kids at CMU are not in the College of Fine Arts and the large amount of freshman that year left some students sleeping in the lounge areas of dormitories). We were friendly in college but never extremely close and both graduated in 2007.
Since our time at CMU we both took up residence in Pittsburgh. She focused on building a strong and successful career as a practicing artist using blood, sweat, and a ton of unbridled talent to explore her different interests including the Free Painting Project and music via The Power Hour shows.
I was burnt out on academia and disillusioned about what the art world had in store. I felt determined to define what, if any, art practice I wanted to build for myself. Running around Pittsburgh and other parts of the country for a few years, I tried out every possible other avenue of interest before rediscovering my only real love was for oil paint and talking to artists.
This whole time, we never really hung out, even though she lived about a 30 minute bus ride away. When I heard she might be moving to Los Angeles, I realized I had to schedule a chat and just catch up. This is that chat.