At the of age 3, I lost my mother and was left with an enormous emptiness inside. My grandparents stepped in to raise me and my two younger brothers. A year later, my grandpa died and my grandma was left to raise us alone, whilst struggling with the almost crippling grief of losing a daughter and husband before their time. Watching grandma as I grew up, I became fascinated with understanding how to deal with the absence of a loved one…and how to balance the rolling tide of joy and pain from day to day.
Growing up in a home where feelings are never talked about or truly expressed causes one to become closed to the world. It was my grandma’s love of music and photography that really kick-started my creativity and re-opened my heart to the world. From the time my brothers and I woke up until we closed our eyes, the radio would be turned on. I distinctly remember listening to Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Going On” and seeing grandma’s eyes flood with emotion at the line “Mother, mother, there's too many of you crying.” But, she never shed a tear. It was at that moment that I realized, music would be the key to opening that emotional door.
Whilst growing up, every moment of our lives was caught on camera (and this was before camera phones). You would seldom catch my grandma without her camera; to the point that we had a fish tank overflowing with photo albums…one for every year dating back to the 60s. As a child, it amazed me that family and friends would come from all over, just to flip through these albums. For me then, they were just albums. For them, there were journeys through time…happy times. This is when I learned that, if an image really captures a person, they will do whatever’s in their means to have it. So, with pen and scrap paper in hand, I became an image creator and a student and lover of art.
Throughout my life, I have been both the victim and villain of love. This has taught me to understand the balancing act that love requires. My work explores various forms of love from a male perspective - marginalized in a space where emotions aren’t shared or embraced.