Artist Statement

Artist’s Statement
My ceramic art is directly influenced by my study of Buddhist philosophies. Though I would not call myself a Buddhist, the teachings of the Dharma and the visual culture of this religion greatly shape the way I think and how I approach my art.  At the core, my artistic endeavors are an attempt to understand what Buddhism holds for me in my life. I continually ask myself, “What does the Buddha mean to me?”, “Why do I keep coming back to these philosophies?” and “Do I even need religion in my life?”  In the Buddha’s teachings, he openly encourages individuals to challenge him in order to find their own path. I create my work around this central theme as a way to explore Buddhism as well as challenge my own beliefs. 
On the surface, my work expresses my interest in the visual cultures of the East mixed with Western street art themes.   The deeper I go, the teachings of the Dharma are filtered through my mind and reinterpreted in the forms and characters I create.  This is expressed through an intuitive, visceral handling of clay as well as the graffiti tags I add to my work.  Using cute teddy bears and street art elements also act as a way to lighten the heavy subject matter I present.   By using traditional and contemporary techniques and philosophies, I can create unexpected combinations of the old and new mixed with the East and West. 
In my work I urge individuals to find their own path, while simultaneously acknowledging the doubts I have about my own.  Creating art with religious influence comes with the risk of misunderstanding and the potential inability for viewers to detach from religious imagery.  I welcome this challenge.  I strive to make my work a symbol of the teachings of the Buddha ¬¬-- to always question, to never be comfortable with an answer someone else gives and to encourage others to find their own unique path.