Engagement and Education
I actively seek opportunities to collaborate with educational institutions, human rights and volunteer organizations, business and individuals to create creative projects aimed at promoting community engagement and cross-cultural communication.
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For 15 years, on five continents, I have rolled around on the floor with people from all walks of life. This experience has had a profound impact on my work - resulting in a deep interest in how the combining of vulnerability and humor can produce empathetic understanding of another person's situation or perspective.
Through practicing art, languages, martial arts and self-defense and through teaching them to children and adults from high-risk urban environments to prestigious academic and corporate settings, I have developed a broad range of strategies for engaging with my peers and students.
In Japan and New Zealand I worked with ESL students, members of the deaf community, CEOs of large corporations and women in prison to explore how concepts of home and identity are bounded by cultural and linguistic conventions. I used language, drawing games, and painting and sculpture techniques to develop cross-disciplinary strategies for overcoming communication restrictions and obstacles.
In the US, South Korea, and Chile I combined my training in close-contact martial arts with my daily contact with government officials and diplomats to explore ways in which vulnerable and awkward moments can provide spaces for recognizing common ground. From this, I developed a project called Fight Therapy that involved teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (a ground-fighting martial arts similar to wrestling) to unlikely participants as a method for exploring psychological and physical relationships within themselves and with others.
After returning again to the States, I added drawing tools to the physical act of grappling in an ongoing practice I call Collaborative Combative Drawing (CCD). As an extension of Fight Therapy, CCD harnesses the energy created from pushing and pulling in the collaborative process to explore how we can productively negotiate the clashing of ideas. These physical practices resulted in a record of drawings, paintings, videos and many conversations.
This work all feeds into the next iteration that I will launch as a long term artist in resident at the Cubberley Artist Studio Program (CASP) in Palo Alto. BRING IT! Games of Engagement will be an ongoing project in which I invite members of the community to join me to discover, play and refine new games (including language games, physical games, media games and board games) that contribute ideas to and about intercultural exchanges. These interactions will inform my studio practice of utilizing traditional art-making techniques and new media to expand notions of art and communication as well as create, establish and promote interaction with fellow CASP artists, the Palo Alto community, and the greater Bay Area art scene.