As a muralist and picture book author, my business is telling stories. My faith is in people, and the ordinary extraordinariness of their lives, and my art focuses on the places I've lived and travelled and the people I meet. Themes revolve around community, shared work, growth, and a sense of place or season. Children--and their unique, often astonishing perspectives--are a constant source of inspiration, and much of my artwork has a playful, childlike exuberance to it. Sometimes my story ideas are filched directly from my students.
Originally an oil painter and printmaker, I am drawn to the disciplined process of color and layer, but the spirit of modern, recycled, and street art. I also have a strong practical bent that wants creativity to be useful. These are the reasons I gravitate to public art. I often create murals with large groups of people, acting as a visual problem-solver, teacher, choreographer, carpenter, community activist, and arts advocate, as well as a painter. Making murals is one of the most uplifting things I do.
Books are uplifting in a more personal way, and I have devoured them all my life. Marshall Cavendish published my first picture book, The Rain Stomper, in 2008 with illustrator Eric Velasquez. I continue to write picture books and recently finished my first young adult novel, a coming-of-age story set on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. "Essa Vida/That Life" won a 2015 Oregon Literary Fellowship and an Oregon Arts Commission grant, and took me on residency to Brazil. All of my books focus on strong characters and spare language to capture the inherent creative power of being young.
I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats in Portland, Oregon. We all love the rainy season, which lets us read, write, color, build things, and watch movies with impunity. When not working in my home studio, I lead murals and teach workshops to kids and adults around the country.