Paintings with stories

Left: Code Blue, January 2022. Mixed media (acrylic paint, cotton flannel and acrylic fabric scraps, nylon yarn, vintage plastic button) on stretched canvas, 20 inches by 16 inches. This painting was inspired by Albany Police Department getting $9 million in Covid-19 relief funds, meanwhile unhoused folks in Albany and throughout New York State were left in the streets, ignored, while freezing and starving, and being shooed out of public spaces by APD.
Right: Code Magenta, July 2023. Mixed media (acrylic paint, acrylic thread, chalk pastel, upcycled cotton tanktop, glue, clear embossing powder) on stretched canvas, 20 inches by 16 inches. This painting was made to compliment the painting I made in 2022, but to represent the summer months. As Albany Police in certain areas all together ignore homeless people, yet in other areas meet them with extreme violence and intimidation. As we see people “camping” in Washington Park more and more, to the point where the out of touch people who live in Center Square around the park have actually taken notice. Those of us who have been homeless in the past and have invisibly slept in the park have been seeing each other, giving silent nods of solidarity, sitting on benches across from each other while trading a smoke for a drink or an apple for a granola bar. Trading stories of avoiding shelters and opting to sleep outside, couch surf, or squat in structurally questionable abandoned historic buildings. Seeing pieces of the city and humanity that many insulated people could never even imagine.

Inappropriately Gray, March 2022
A meditation on the potential harms of “finding a gray area” or “middle ground”, something commonly pushed in DBT and other therapeutic treatments. When folks with undiagnosed autism are treated as if they are not autistic certain things can become internalized and super ingrained in our psyche. A lot of folks with autism (myself included) have felt that heavy emphasis on DBT has done more harm than good. We find ourselves cycling through potential grays that do not exist, stuck in a limbo of gray areas and safety that only exists in some magical, abstract therapy land.
The world is full of gray areas. But that does not mean that there is no space for black and white thinking. It does not mean there is no space for being bold, being extreme. There are circumstances where there are NO gray areas.

Endometriosis, 2021

Mixed media (acrylic, dove blood ink, sharpie, POSCA marker, upcyced chain, upcycled metal) on 24 by 18 inch stretched canvas
A self portrait from 2021 depicting the pain of endometriosis. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2018 after having debilitating menstrual cycles and hormonal issues since 2009/2010. I spent nearly 10 years seeking medical advice and help only to be fed hormonal birth control and told that the excessive bleeding, fainting, vomiting was all “normal” and that in a few years my cycles would regulate. Hopping from pill to pill, to nexplanon (arm implant), to mirena (IUD), to nuvaring, to paraguard (non hormonal IUD) did nothing to alleviate my symptoms. After being diagnosed with endometriosis I tried a few other birth control methods and then in 2020 decided to stop birth control all together. In the past four(ish) years off birth control I have seen my cycle regulate, I no longer faint from pain and vomiting from pain is no longer a weekly occurrence. My periods are mostly predictable within a couple days, and it isn’t nearly as painful as it once was (although I still pass a full decidual cast now and again). There are reasons to be on birth control, hormonal issues being one of them, but I was never given hormonal testing and after years and years of different doctors and different medications, it was extremely obvious to me that birth control side effects were much worse than any potential relief they were providing (and after being off bc for so long, I can say with confidence the only relief they gave me was the ability to have unprotected sex and not have a pregnancy….). I still deal with endometriosis and am still struggling at times. The bloating, the painsomnia, the bleeding, the ovulation pain and pain outside of menstruation can be annoying and debilitating at times, hopping off bc didn’t get rid of my endo (obiously…) but it was an unexpected step to helping minimize my pain and other symptoms after being told for years that it was the ONLY treatment for endo, which is just not true!
I hope all people with endometriosis find a treatment plan for them that helps them exist comfortably and pain free more often than not. Don’t be afraid to question doctors you see, and assertively say NO when you need to.