Rocky River Drawing, 2019 / 10’h x 8’w / on permanent display at Stevens Creek Nature Center, Mint Hill, NC
While in graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill, I taught 3D design to undergraduates. One of the assignments that I most enjoyed was having my students write manifestos. I have always believed that art should be made from a place of passion and a strong desire to communicate ideas, which is probably why the modernist movements of the early 20th century (dada, futurism, surrealism, constructivism, etc.) have always held a special resonance with me. The very first time I gave the assignment, I joined my students in the task of articulating the core beliefs that drive my work. Here is what I wrote:
Reframing boundaries continues to be an important guiding force in my work. In fact, when I was asked to create a permanent installation for a new nature center in the Charlotte area, the environmental education director envisioned a river map of Mecklenburg County. I urged her to reconsider. Visitors to a nature center should be asked to reimagine the boundaries that define their communities, to learn about the watershed systems that connect them to others in essential ways. She agreed, and I produced a map of the Rocky River Watershed instead of Mecklenburg County. I’m delighted to have this project housed in a place where it will be interpreted by educators who understand and have a stake in the meaning behind it.