at my core,
I am a portrait artist. Since taking childhood trips to the local art museum I’ve been enamored with how we capture each other and why. In my opinion, it’s not solely about recording the realistic likeness of the subject. I want to understand people as they relate to the world around them. I want to see them as they see themselves. How do they sit in their space?
During those childhood trips the docent would decode a portrait’s meaning. The clothing, hand positioning, the subject’s gaze, the items or scenery surrounding the subject—all of it was laden with meaning. It felt simultaneously obvious and truly mysterious.
In my creative career I have made attempts at portraits of regular people, hoping to share their stories and discuss issues that impact our daily lives. Ultimately those projects lost steam. Then interest in the occult and astrology had a resurgence in popularity. Peering deeper into this trend, I discovered how tarot cards and similar tools worked and saw their potential for storytelling. In tarot, each card is a singular story that changes in relation to its positioning with other cards.
In 2017, I fully illustrated a 78 card tarot deck about Pittsburgh, the city that had become my home as an adult. Included within it are people, places, and things from the city all bound up with the language of tarot. It is both a standalone piece of art and a functional object. Since then I have updated in regularly with new tales from the ‘Burgh.
While creating the deck, I traveled throughout the city to work on location with a sketchbook and iPad—collecting references and fleshing out compositions. Everything starts with the sketchbook.
Since this project I’ve synthesized various symbol sets with contemporary themes. I want to tell stories about today with relatable and established visual systems. Whether it is the language of flowers, the zodiac and astrology, or internet memes—I’ve only just begun to play with these visual systems and create something new and strange. It is my hope to talk more about what impacts my community day to day (hustle culture, equal pay, the housing crisis) .
List of Favorite Materials
BIC Mechanical pencils; SumoGrip black erasers; iPad Pro with pencil; Cintiq Pro (24inch)
This list is a set of guidelines that i originally posted on my twitch stream. however, they are really important to everything I do. Whether it’s a post on instagram or deciding to bid on a project, these values drive every decision I make. (note that I’m using the royal “we” here)
appreciation: We see and appreciate beauty and excellence in all people. Rejecting conventional standards— we honor that individual uniqueness and celebrate our shared humanity.
learning: We are forever students of the world. Our space is devoted to exploring unknown techniques and refining our understanding of the world around us.
thanks: We take time to express gratitude. Each day we are given the opportunity to do something good.
imagination: We are devoted to creativity and ingenuity—and not solely as it relates to art and illustration.
empathy: Our space is one of fairness. We don’t tolerate anything other than kind behavior.