I am an Irish American artist, born in Bangor, Maine. As a descendent of early colonial Scottish Protestants and Irish Catholics. My mother was an executive chef, lobbyist, educator, and dietitian; my father is an astronomy architect, Pyramid Text scholar, and United States Air Force pilot. Together they developed a passion for art, amassing a collection that became a breeding ground for my unique set of visual and auditory skills. Visual stimulation became my first language. I developed what is called the Matthew Effect and, because I was a non-remediated student and did not get diagnosed with a host of learning disabilities until 48 years of age, these stronger skills took over for my deficit in reading, math, and writing.
To be brought up in a home that fostered an appreciation for the creative and artistic was a gift from my parents. Without celebrating their passion for art, I would not have recognized the value of pursuing my artistic path nor the absorbent responsibility to honour my authenticity, culture, and community. To actively pursue and develop a visual voice and professional art practice have been my most outstanding life achievements, ones that continue to challenge, stretch, and bring me gratification in ways I could never imagine.
I started my career at 14 in the music business as a recording engineer working for television and radio conglomerates such as CBS and NBC. After graduating from high school, I worked for several recording studios. Soon I owned and operated Southwestern Entertainment Management Company, managing local and regional heavy metal bands. At that time, I was introduced to singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and became her house engineer. Shortly after, I met, married, and had a daughter with legendary heavy metal artist Ian Hill of Judas Priest.
I continued to study sound engineering, working for a management and music-publishing firm representing artists such as Pat Travers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and Quiet Riot. In 1987, while living in Spain and England, I started a property management company and an antique emporium. I became interested in city centre management, crisis management, and personal safety issues for women and children. I worked with the Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Police Department-CID, Great Western Arcade, and the UK Home Office as a logistics and security specialist. I was awarded the International Business Woman of the Year.
My journey of working with creative people such as musicians, artists, city planners, and entrepreneurs led me to find my authentic purpose: being an artist. In 2012 I returned to school to earn the degrees that had eluded me for so long and embarked on making the necessary sacrifices to honor my passion for being an artist and developing a full-time art practice. Between 2014 and 2018 I completed numerous degrees, ultimately earning my Bachelors of Fine Arts. My BFA thesis project and exhibition, The Matriarch Series, celebrated the lives of my mother, stepmother, and mother-in-law, all of whom had unexpectedly passed within eight months of each other. The series was an installation comprised of an immersive triptych of ledger stones (240 x 96 x 1 in.) in the style of a white cut-out dress made from birch wood along with a stacked sculpture (36 x 42 x 24 in.) of six, life-size, plaster cast legs with high heel shoes, replicating broken limbs as a metaphor of the matriarchs’ broken bodies.
During my undergraduate studies, I developed a process using acrylic paint as a textile, creating couture fashion for the runway, for which I received a SURFACE: Emerging Artist of New Mexico award. I continue to develop this process and its uses in my visual articulation. I am now embarking on The Female Gaze Series, a deconstruction of conventional themes of the female gaze informed by theorist Laura Mulvey's research. For centuries, "the male gaze" has dominated popular culture with propaganda perpetuating patriarchal dominance in every aspect of American society. In her 2016 TIFF Talks keynote address, film director Jill Soloway champions the cause, challenging the creative industry to "make space for women to take the lead in shaping female protagonism," further observing that "art is self-propaganda...protagonist is propaganda."
In 2018-2019 I completed a Bench Jewelry Certificate at Central New Mexico Community College and was a studio assistant for Judy Chicago. In 2019 I moved to Ireland to attend the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaugh, County Clare. During my MFA at the Burren College of Art, I developed a cohesive body; increased my teaching experience to understand how students learn more deeply. I had opportunities to make critical connections with curators and art writers, participated in a meaningful community, and grew my work's audience(s) and supporters.
I own and care for a 20-acre coastal farm in Cill Chiaráin in Connemara, County Galway. Last year, I transferred my art practice to my atelier, the Studio barn of my Connemara farm, focusing on the ecology of the Connemara landscape, researching and developing interdisciplinary art for exhibition, and education and furthering my research on, The Lumper Project and the divine feminine. Furthermore, in November 2022, I founded the Centre for Creative Arts Connemara, creative arts hub and an artist residency program based in Cill Chiaráin, Co. Galway. The Centre for Creative Arts supports the Connemara youth and adult community through innovative art programs offering workshops at local community centres. The residency program will open in 2026, engaging local, national and international artists, curators and educators seeking to reconnect with nature and develop an ecological-based practice and educational content embedded in the Connemara landscape.