Artist Statement Submitted 2018
I am currently a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. I was unaware that being here for a year would bring me full circle to the feelings of being an outsider that my early work explored. As a youngster, I tried and failed at joining the circus as a clown. Growing up poor and in the American south made me feel marginalized. The use of the clown make up as I explored my journey as a visual artist freed me from that perception. Since then, I have succeeded in discarding these props in my portraits, free to express myself without clown makeup as disguise. In Rome, however, as a foreigner, it has brought me back to those feelings of being marginalized again. Several props that I have in my studio here (a white clown doll, a marionette horse, a black prisoner doll wearing black and white striped clothing), speak to how I feel here, including thoughts of vulnerability, the little girl inside of me, and separateness. Rome has allowed me to find a resting place for these marginal feelings.
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