I went to summer camp for 3 weeks in Wasilla, AK when I was fourteen years old. I fell in love with everything “wilderness Alaska”–from Moose, Elk, Caribou meat on the BBQ to mountain hiking/camping, glaciers and white water rafting. It took me 34 years to get back here.
I sold everything in Florida and moved to Houston, AK. I am starting a new life, new career here in Alaska. February 2, 2022 I left FL. February 2, 2021 I had my ladder accident and head injury. I would like to think 2-2 means something special to me. My accident and head & body injury changed me permanently. I am not sure if it jumbled my brain or it just made everything clear. After the accident I left a church that I had belonged to for 40 years. The Covid years showed me the true colors of the people in that church and I decided to no longer attend places that literally made me sick to my stomach. It’s exhausting to be treated poorly at a place where you would expect to be treated with kindness and acceptance. The same was true for my hometown of St. Petersburg, FL. I paved the way for the mural scene that started on the 600 block of Central Avenue. I was persistent with the Manager and Owner of the property. Despite being a forerunner–I was shunned from the Shine Mural Festival. This is because the first Shine mural festival was all men… all white men. And I spoke up and was permanently blacklisted. But, because I was vocal they added two women… one of which was African American… so they were able to check boxes for inclusivity. If I had to do it all over again… I would still do it the same. I feel like I kept hitting glass ceilings in St. Petersburg, FL. So a major move seemed like opportunity and not a threat.
In August I did my first Artist Residency in McCarthy, Alaska. McCarthy is a very amazing place–a defunct mining town transformed into a bustling summer hub for EVERYTHING “outdoor adventure.” You can see fabulous bands in McCarthy like Oregon based, “Free Creatures” to AK’s very own, “Super Saturated Sugar Strings.” It’s a foodie town and of course if hiking, climbing a glacier and white water rafting is your thing… McCarthy brings! It’s a 7 hour drive from Anchorage–but every view is mouth-dropping-luscious. While in McCarthy I painted landscapes of the area. This is a big change for my usual whimsical characters. I hope that my style can be unique but also capture the beauty of the Alaskan landscape.
This summer in Alaska I immersed myself into the land and it’s offerings: I salmon fished both commercially and personally, I collected and made fireweed jelly, wild berry pies and jellies. I smoked salmon that I caught. I learned to use a chainsaw and a wood splitter. I made friends, I lost a friend, I painted.
I am not exactly sure where my road is headed–I do know that I am planted in Alaska and I hope she waters me.