My art began to become its own following this series I did while participating in the Post-Studio Projects Micro-residency in Houston, Texas. Several other artists of various disciplines and I were challenged to create pieces inspired by the dollar store for an exhibition, "Generally Have a Nice Day." During my visit to the dollar store, I was instantly drawn to the toy section where I found many toy guns, imitation money, plastic knives, and other options that lead my train of thought from innocent playtime to images of vice. I embraced the idea and played off of the vibrant colors that, I assume, made the toys "kid-friendly." I have always been intrigued by the lifestyle we commonly associate with these toys (guns, knives, money, etc.) Having grown up in one of the largest cities in the nation, I have been exposed to many different cultures and lifestyles throughout my life. It's not necessarily the crime that interests me, but the motives behind it and why those who engage feel the need to. What drives "criminals" to commit crimes? Were the only toys in the area their parents could afford plastic guns or knives? Are these items strategically marketed to our children who live in certain neighborhoods? I am not sure. Regardless of the message, my creativity blended comfortably with the idea and I was fortunate to curate this project alongside fellow creative, Blue Hyman A.K.A Get Some Greens
Artist Statement for Exhibition: For this exhibition I worked with children's toys I encountered at an inner-city dollar store that were somewhat suggestive of sex, vanity, greed, and violence. What I found interesting was how, as a child, I would simply see nothing more than a toy to play with, but as an adult I felt these toys lead to a lifestyle that wasn't very child-like. My photos incorporate the apparent "cuteness" of a toy surrounded by dark thoughts and imagery my mind directed me to. I'd like this series to allow people to let their creative thought processes take a detour and find the art interesting, exploratory, and enticing along the way.