I was born in London in 1968, the eldest of four. I was a shy introverted child lacking in self confidence with a passion for drawing.
At 13 I was sent away to boarding school, a Church of England private girls school with compulsory morning and evening chapel services. At first it was a living hell really, and it was art and music that helped transport me away. Although my mother had plans for me to have a career in medicine I had other ideas, and with the support of my headmistress and art teacher we managed to persuade my reluctant parents to let me study graphic design, which as it turned out was absolutely useless. I studied 'old school' methods, that's to say, cut and paste by hand. Computers had not quite come to our college yet, but by the time I left they were the new way. To add insult to injury, after I graduated and was looking for work, schlepping my portfolio all over town -- it was promptly stolen, and I had nothing to show for my years in college. Lucky for me, this time wasn't a total loss -- because it would be the town where I'd meet my lovely husband Colin. He was a DJ at the time and although he never played the music I requested, I was besotted and eventually made him mine.
In 1992 we moved to S. Florida, year of Hurricane Andrew. We started our own couture latex company called Hotbox Inc. We specialized in custom made fetish rubber clothing. We manufactured our own sheet rubber, which at the time was unheard of. Without any money to push the business forward it was a hard task and eventually we had to call it quits.
I worked in a department store, at a commercial art studio and a PIP printing (where I quit on my first day, before lunch)! It was around this time that I first saw an issue of Juxtapoz with a cover by Mark Ryden - and I was struck. The urge to paint was growing, but I lacked the knowledge and confidence to do anything about it. It seemed so complicated. My very early attempts were very graphic, comic book style. Hard colors.
"Jam Sandwich" was the first layered painting I produced, and is the only one of my pieces that I will keep.
My original inspirations relied heavily on anime, Tamara De Lempicka and Mark Ryden. I loved the creative expression of the Harajuku kids in Tokyo. They filled me with such hope and excitement. Originally the intention of my paintings was just about creating a strong image, purely visual. I wanted to impart a modern tongue-in-cheek humor, incorporating my experiences. Contemporary, ballsy, flirty, weepy girls; punk, catholic, no-nonsense, damaged but not broken girls. Funny, intelligent, unusual, independent, odd ball, outsiders. Lovely.
The next logical step for me was to move into oils. With no formal fine art training whatsoever, and no knowledge of art history and even less of art technique it seemed like the most complicated thing in the world -- fat over lean? What the hell did that mean? So, in 2003 I bought a book off the Internet "How to Paint with Oils." I decided to give it a go, and have never looked back. Oils have a whole new set of rules, and to be honest I'm still finding my way.
As time goes on I find myself relying less on the narrative and more on the emotive. I hope that my work can connect with people on different levels. I'm trying to harness a single moment in time, an emotional response, seemingly insignificant gesture that can mean so much.
If you have a creative impulse, whether it be art, music, writing, theater, cooking, whatever -- express it. Don't let you own hang-ups, caution, fear of failure or ridicule stop you...?