- Born in Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Raised in Richmond, BC, Canada
- Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Photography), University of British Columbia (Bachelor of Education, High School Art, Special Education, ESL/ELL)
- During high school in the early-mid 1990’s, I became involved in Vancouver’s emerging rave scene by attending warehouse parties. The adventure of making elaborate costumes, pre-meets before the party, finding the secret location, going to check points and sneaking around the city was a huge thrill. The parties themselves were amazing, and the strong sense of family, community and unconditional acceptance is something I will always cherish.
- I became an advocate for the rave community by working with the police, the media, drug enforcement, local mayors and councillors and various rave promoters. I gained tremendous respect among all parties because of my strict drug free life style, and because I never stood to gain financially. My only concern was that youth have a safe venue to participate in after hours activities and that harm reduction models be used to educate youth regarding drug use.
- Living in Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Teaching in Richmond, BC, Canada
- Strongly involved in Vancouver’s LGBT and drag nightlife and culture
- I dream of having selections of my journals published as a hardcover book. I want them to be available to as many people as possible to act as inspiration. A website is nice, but it doesn’t have the intimacy of a book. I would also like to exhibit my artwork more often. I will continue to teach, as being an educator is my passion.
I began making various forms of sketchbooks as a child. But it wasn’t until high school that I began to focus on them as a serious method for self expression and identity. The primary drive was to turn self destructive impulses into something constructive. When I couldn’t function because of crippling depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, I found therapy in my sketchbook.
This was problematic since sketchbooks are public (especially in high school) whereas I required a private journal which I had access to at all times. This led to all kinds of secret code languages, backwards writing, symbolism and metaphor. This was necessary since censoring myself defeated the purpose of the sketchbook, but at the same time kept others from over reacting and misinterpreting the work.
On a side note, I choose not share my high school journals with students.
Once at art school I became conflicted with my sketchbooks. My instructors only saw value in the sketchbook as a means to planning a larger piece. The sketchbook was, to them, only for preliminary work and note taking. The concept of the sketchbook as the final piece was frowned upon. This was especially true as I became a photography major. A sense of the traditional was an impossible barrier from students and faculty alike. While others put their nicely printed, matted and framed photos on the wall for critique, I would submit a photo glued into a sketchbook that had been written on, painted, scratched, etc.
This was a conscious choice I made. As I studied photography, I felt that the images lacked context when they were presented. This realization was key to my art practice. The sketchbook could provide context, a deeper story, and a greater interaction with the viewer.
I was finally given a bit less flack in my final year of art school as Dan Eldon’s journals were published. Once his book became a best seller and gained academic attention, sketchbooks started to get accepted.
Since then I have continued to use my sketchbook every free moment possible. I use it to document my life, for fear that I may forget key moments and memories. I use it to decipher the white noise of media and pop culture. I use it to inspire my students, and as a way to connect with them on a deeper lever. I use it to figure out who I am, what I’m doing and where I’m going. I turn to my sketchbook to have a voice when it seems like no one is listening. My sketchbook is a tool to interact with the world around me and to understand the world inside me.
Themes In My Sketchbooks
Themes reflect my personal evolution and journeys. As I change, so do the themes of my books.
Major Themes over the years include:
Raves, night clubs, after hours clubs, concerts, drugs, alcohol.
Please Note: as previously mentioned I have not ever taken illegal drugs and I do not encourage a lifestyle that includes them. I consume alcohol in moderation and never drive when intoxicated.
War, terrorism, imperialism, “War on Terror“, war crimes, military industrial complex, torture, 9/11, police, surveillance.
Humanity, mental illness, sexuality, gender issues, social justice, relationships, emotions, family.
Being a teacher, teacher/student relationships, art education, politics, teachable moments.
Effects on society, packaging, waste, recycling, popular culture, advertising.