I grew up in Saint die des Vosges, a small town in northern France, where printmakers during the sixteenth century produced early maps of the new world. The word America was first mentioned in the famous Waldseemuller map, originally published in April 1507 in Saint die des Vosges.
The cartographic elements of the grid and symbols in maps have appeared in my paintings over the years and in a way, rooted my art practice in the history of image making.
Moving to the city of Chicago and seeing the graffiti in the urban landscape, the experience brought me back to my childhood memories of cartography and symbols.
For the graffiti artist, the site and scale of the image play an important role in the strength of the message. The graphic images correspond to the social and political upheaval in their lives and the world. I am inspired by the directness and spontaneity of symbols and mark making. I also incorporate contemporary titles of music in the paintings prompting rhythmic dance movements. I choose specific flora and fauna from nature to activate the senses (touch, smell, and sound). The bright neon color palette of the paintings come from street signs and public emergency vehicles to warn of boundaries and directions.
I consider art an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation with the world today.