The uniqueness of each person’s features, figure, contours, gestures, and personalities inspires me to paint and draw portraits of people utilizing the method of contour drawing. Inherent to this method is the altering and abstraction of faces and figures, revealing human characteristics and qualities.
I draw from life and photographs, quickly and freely, trying to capture the movements and motion of people. I have always lived in cities, where there is no shortage of people, and the residents of each place truly define the character of that city. My muses are always the people around me. In my artwork, I capture daily life in Baltimore, creating portraits of residents that tell distinct stories, while recognizing these people as the keys to a better, future Baltimore.
My process began by exploring the city, illustrating commuters while traveling on public transportation. I layered multiple portraits of commuters to create depth in a visual scene of my experience on city busses. Now I have turned my focus towards the people who have transformed my year: my students at The Club At Collington Square. I spotlight the youth, who are current and future leaders of the community, for whom community members and The Club work so diligently to serve and support. This year, the students created artwork that simultaneously expressed their individuality, and a unified community. In this process, I learned about the students through endless interactions and illustrations, discovering their personalities, their interests, and how they view the community’s most complex issues. I searched for a method to draw attention to them as key people within the context of the neighborhood, by layering portraits of the students over maps donated by the city government, and silkscreen printed maps of the neighborhood created from my own drawings.
Finally, to essentially bring my students to life from my drawings and locate them in the community, I enlarged their figures over a wall size map of Collington Square. In my mural, The Mighty, Mighty Club Kids, I am exploding my sketchbook filled with their portraits—placing the youth at the forefront of the community’s growth, and invoking a line from The Club’s exuberant anthem. The youth of The Club are becoming the true agents of change in East Baltimore, during this pivotal moment in the recovery of this part of Baltimore City.
Photos of my personal artwork from 2009 - 2010: