For a long time, I referred to myself as a photographer rather than as an artist. I did this because the majority of my work was done in the photographic medium and my camera had been, in many ways, my champion.
I grew up with cameras, films, and the other photography accouterments being as normal to me as baseballs or dolls were to other kids. I learned to take what was there, what was real — the light, the dark, the mood, the balance, the air — and translate it through the lens. Having a deep affinity for water, I merged these two passions and began creating underwater work. In the water, everything that we know goes away — noise, gravity, perceptions — there is tremendous peace and it allows me to create visual enigmas that calm rather than confuse.
Even with this devout love of photography, I had always worked in other media. Yet it felt false to me to present this other art because I was subscribing to an unwritten rule that dictated that I could only be a photographer, only be a painter, or only some other type of artist. As soon as I let go of this rule, I started to delve into what makes me, me.
I thought about what sort of artist I would be if I could be someone else — someone new and unknown. I started exploring various media and relationships amongst them. Along with that exploration developed a second identity: Miss Pickford. She was borne of the notion that we can defy the norm within a world that wants to pigeonhole and too narrowly define people. As myself, I still can be another person, another artist — I can be Miss Pickford and create as her and I do. Her artworks take the form of mixed media shadowboxes that feature drawings, etchings, vintage fabrics, and unique notes that tell a story woven from history and whimsy. It’s her story, told through my hands.
For as much as I am exploring inward and striving forward, I am looking backward as well. History plays greatly into who I am and where I will go and it has inspired me to revive a classic role of an artist, that of a painter. I want to forge something more than just an image; I want my paintings to continually morph. That which we actually see is an interpretation — the viewer’s — and that changes with each person, lighting, environment, and more.
What continues to result from this self-exploration is a body of work that strolls different avenues of creativity while applying equally different media. In many ways, my work seems like the work of multiple artists … or perhaps multiple personalities. And as far as I know, there is no rule that says that I am allowed only one personality. I could not abide such a limitation. After all, I am an artist.