As I grew older, I always knew I was an artist at heart but the pragmatic path leads me to joining the Air Force. I ended up in aviation as an inspector for several years, transitioning into my civilian life until one day. I was inspired to reacquaint myself with my creative side by picking up a spray can and painting in my backyard in 2011. I was living in Idaho and had been hearing stories of incredible artsy west-coast festivals so when I lost my job, I immediately packed up my belongings and took a trip to California. I spent the next seven years actively cultivating my creative side by live painting at music festivals community events and weddings. I spent time living in Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where I immersed myself in the fashion counter-culture. Living life to the fullest and traveling much led to a series of wakeup calls in the form of failing health.
Painting helped me cope with the PTSD from my time in the military and my next step towards healing, connected me with a group of veterans using Iboga treatment in Mexico. This experience completely turned my life around and inspired me out of Los Angeles and into activism as an advocate for other Veterans to gain access to natural plant medicines. In 2016, I set out on a pilgrimage in a veggie oil-powered truck to deliver supplies to the oil pipeline protest in Standing Rock, ND. During my third trip near Thanksgiving, I had some car trouble near Denver, Colorado. Once again, my health deteriorated and I was informed by the doctor that I had cancer and I shouldn’t travel anymore. So I settled in Colorado to continue my journey back to health. I found that cannabis oil and water fasting helped shrink my tumor and saved my organs from being removed during an operation. While recovering, I was no longer able to comfortably use a paintbrush so I was forced to create something different.
As I lay recovering in my bed began to tinker with a box of broken sunglasses a friend had gifted me. The style that emerged from those early experiments features detachable chains to swap frames and chains with ease. Additionally, I’ve repurposed old reading glasses by removing the lenses to create unique and extraordinary face jewelry. I even starting crafting exclusive hat designs. With the recent purchase of a brand new sewing machine, I feel just like that excited 13 yr old again! I’ve been recreating vintage jackets by bedazzling them and painting on them. It feels like I’m coming back full circle into who I was, but with a new vision and optimism. I hope to invite others coming into their own creative self-expression to be bold, and take chances with being wierd and fun! Let’s go!