Which artists inspired you to begin painting?
I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. My Nana used to paint before I was born and I would make her watch Bob Ross with me every single day and I would paint or draw all day long. I would beg her to draw me paper dolls and I would try to redraw them to look like hers to improve my drawing skills. I grew up on the same block as the Toledo Museum of Art and they had a Saturday morning children’s art program that I went to for years. Entry to the museum was free so we would go often and walk around and look at the paintings inside and the sculpture garden outside. My stepdad is a phenomenal artist as well. He has been incredibly inspiring to watch and I feel so lucky to have had that influence in my home. Not every kid grows up with creative inspiration in the home so I feel really blessed to have had multiple artists to look up to.
When did you decide to paint guitars?
I actually started by painting ukuleles. After my Papa passed away I had a “life is fleeting” crisis and I wasn’t loving school and it felt like I was spinning my wheels. I felt like I needed to reset and CHOOSE my life rather than just do what was expected of me, so I withdrew from my classes and moved to Maui with a friend. I would bring my paints to the beach while she was at work and spend all day there. I painted and sharpie-ed on every ukulele people would let me. Then after I ran out of ukuleles I decided to paint my acoustic guitar.
How did your relationship with Fender Custom Shop begin?
My mom lives in Phoenix near Fender Headquarters and I was staying with her for a bit before I moved to Hawaii and I was going through my hot pink hair phase. The neighbors next to us had two little girls, about ages 5 and 7, and they thought my pink hair was cool and asked if I would babysit them. I kept in touch with them and their mom through Instagram and Facebook after I moved to Maui and they saw pictures of my ukuleles and guitar I had painted and they showed their dad, who I had never met and didn’t know anything about. He emailed me and told me he was the Director of Fender Custom Shop and said he loved my work and asked if I would be interested in doing a run of 10 guitars for the shop!
Describe the inspiration for the Sun Flake.
Most of my designs are curvy and have rounded edges and I tend to gravitate more towards turquoise, blues, and purples. I was trying to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself by using a different color palette and not sticking to my usual pattern flow. Red has always seemed like an intense, “hard” color to me and the bright yellow seemed to fit the same style. I went for sharp edges and straight lines compared to my usual organic floral shapes.
Many of your Fender Custom Shop creations involve bright colors.
I think there’s a lot you can say with color, or lack of. I have always been drawn to vibrant colors.
Describe your inspiraton for the Floral Strats.
I started a series of simplified portraits of people wearing flower crowns and fell in love with the style and I just knew I had to put those flowers on a guitar. I love the simplicity of the design but its still vibrant and catches the eye. Many of my designs have a lot going on and they have a ton of movement and a lot to look at so it was fun to create a softer, smoother design.
Dimensions is a black-and-white departure from your brightly-colored work. What’s up with that?!
As I’ve said, I have always loved bright colors. But it’s fun to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. Dimensions was loosely based off of my personal baritone ukulele that I drew on with Sharpie in 2013. I loved that uke and I thought it would look bad ass painted on a guitar.
You also paint clothes and shoes. How did you get into it?
My love for wearable art extends back to drawing paper dolls at my Nana and Papa’s kitchen table in the early 90’s. I would spend all day making endless different paper outfits for them. I knew from a young age that fashion and art didn’t exist separately from one another. I love to embroider designs onto old clothing to bring new life to forgotten favorites. I buy new clothing as well but I have been more aware of the problems with “fast fashion” and our planet the last handful of years. That’s why I started altering clothing instead of buying new.
What is your ideal art creation day like, from morning to when you call it a day?
I dabble in many different art forms and I get restless easily. It’s hard for me to sit still and stick to one project for too long. I begin to lose my momentum. My ideal day would consist of painting and journaling for a while and taking breaks for fiber arts such as knitting and crochet, then probably end with playing guitar or reading. My Myers Briggs personality type is ENFP, The Campaigner, which means I am constantly enthralled with new ideas, people, and activities and I love to help people explore their potential. I host a group every Tuesday night to teach people how to knit and crochet for free. I think there’s not a person in the world who couldn’t benefit from having a creative hobby where they create something with their hands and mind, whether it be tangible like fine art and fiber art or audible like music.