Born: Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Lives: Brooklyn, New York
I have been drawn to art since my childhood spent in a small rural town in Pennsylvania. My father was the son of Italian immigrants and my mother, an Irish-American. They were from the working class and nothing came easy. Watching their struggle within a class system, and my Catholic upbringing (despite my rejection of it), has been a major influence on my art. I didn't like Catechism class or school; both took me away from the imaginative freedom I had playing in the woods in back of our home. Art class seemed to be the only place that encouraged self-expression and asking deeper questions, and that sacred part of the day became my sanctuary for exploring the world around me. I also loved ballet class and at one time aspired to be a dancer. Love for these two art forms continued into my adult life. It would seem I am supposed to be a visual artist, but I have integrated movement and dance into my conceptual installations, which include painting, text, objects, and often a background sound or film component. Lesser-known history and larger social issues are common themes in my work, out of which I strive to then connect to and make sense of my personal experience. The poet Czeslaw Milosz spoke of openness to what is ordinary and right in front of us and to the idea that the purpose of art is to - remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.