"The Brighton Blowout" Screenprint on Paper, 2013
How did you get into debt?
In short, being a sucker. I'm the first woman in my family to have completed college before turning 40, and I really wanted to break that barrier. I was also under the delusion that a Bachelor's Degree from a prestigious college was necessary to 'make it' as an artist. The bulk of my debt is from my student loans, which alarmed me upon graduating because I had received a decent amount of scholarship money to cover my tuition expenses. After my studies, I had a hard time securing stable work, and in turn health insurance so as a result I was left with some medical debt prior to receiving health insurance from my current job, and credit card debt from when I was supplementing my income [or lack thereof] from when I was freelancing/unemployed.
"Dementia Rising" Intaglio Copper Etching on Rives BFK, 2007
How does your economic reality effect your art?
While I'm grateful to have a full-time union job, I can't help but feel like a dog chasing it's tail with respect to trying to paying off my debts. Having to work full time and budgeting my finances to maintain my basic survival, does take a toll on my creative process and puts a significant dent on my energy and mental health. My artistic output has been on steady decline in the past years as my expenses have increased [and wages for the most part stagnant]. With all of that said, I find that the works that I do produce have been more thoughtful and concise due to my time and energy constraints. I have been putting a stronger emphasis on economic violence and the racist nature of capitalism/imperialism.
"The Enemy Kitchen [Palestine]" Intaglio Copper Etching on Rives BFK, 2007
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?:
It's difficult to say. Privilege certainly has a way of casting an unshakable lens onto one's perspective. If I had money to burn, and a financial holding company to invest in my work I might've been making diamond encrusted skulls before it was hot. However in my case, I don't have the luxury of being blind to systemic oppression, and so I create artwork that mirrors the reality that most people are required to confront on a daily basis.
"The Malcolm X Boulevard Watch" Screenprint on Paper, 2009