Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Encino, CA. We lived in a modest tract-house on a tree-lined street with lots of kids, my cousins always around. I came of age in the 80’s when the song “Valley Girl” came out — an accurate depiction of what I didn’t love about Valley culture by that time but couldn’t have articulated. (Moon Unit, if you’re reading this, thanks.) Luckily I didn’t fit the mold, (or any mold), which I didn’t appreciate for years. While my mother remembers orange groves in the 50s, I’d describe 80s San Fernando Valley as an absence of culture, a breeding ground for entertainment industry-fueled ideas about beauty and body image that didn’t work for me. After years of random art classes and lack of focus, I threw away my shoulder pads and moved to San Francisco, finished my degree at SFSU, and moved to Taos in late ‘93. I’m nostalgic for SoCal’s year-round warm weather, the beach, and the square ice cream cones from Thrifty’s Drug Store.
Who has influenced you (in whom you are today, personally or professionally)?
I can think of no one particular influence, rather I’m drawn to a type… to emotionally strong, bold (often foul-mouthed), cynical, irreverent, critical thinking, progressive, creative people with an intelligent sense of humor, who are at the same time self-assured and modest, and not afraid to speak their mind and stand for what’s right—the qualities I wish I had, or try to have. It’s no accident my friends are artists, writers, and architects.
I’m so happy to have this gig! I design the graphics you see in TCA e-newsletters, social media posts, exhibition logos, calendar listings, etc. I’m most fulfilled designing for arts orgs and am fortunate to have cultivated a mostly arts-related client list (including The Paseo, Couse Foundation, and some Harwood.) The content is always different and inspiring. Every week I get to learn about new artists, musicians, performers, films, and be a part of the new the ideas TCA is developing to engage the community. Bonus, I’m regularly asked for my input and appreciated for my work. I get to watch film trailers, google artists and musicians, and listen to Chelsea’s professional SoundCloud recordings while I design and search for content for the weekly e-news, (sign up, always something interesting). I began working with TCA last summer, but it has long been a mainstay of my 26+ years here—as a consistent community space to gather, feed on creativity and lay eyes and ears on all different kinds of art, music and productions together with friends.
What was the first TCA event you attended?
I don’t remember the very first thing, but recall coming to the old, pre-renovated adobe in the mid 90s for weekly independent films which was great respite from the old one-screen movie theater and it’s mainstream Hollywood offerings. We’d stand outside in line at the ticket booth in winter. I can still picture the dilapidated lobby, volunteer Tom that seemed to live there, the cold theater, and scratchy picture and sound—it’s come a long way. I saw several plays then – the one that comes to mind is Hair, starring David Garver. Did they actually get naked on stage? You’d think I’d remember that.
My daughter Zoey is a huge drama nerd. She’s had many performances in the TCA auditorium: Wizard of Oz, Annie, A Christmas Carol (hey, full circle: starring David Garver), Almost Maine, and Romeo & Juliet. Those were big-deal productions and she absolutely loved every minute. I spent a lot of time schlepping her to and from rehearsals, and mostly crying in the audience at how damn cute she was on stage. Now she’s leaving for college… [sob].
What inspires you?
I could spend 6-8 hours at MoMA NY. I just can’t get enough. I once took a trip and saw 6 museums in 4 1/2 days in NYC. Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, oh man. I’m totally bored with old masters—I’m there for new ideas, approaches, ways of seeing, thinking, expressing and understanding the world. I also have a thing for architectural magazines, mid-century modern interiors, Dwell.
I love to be around people who find and pursue some great passion. I’m fascinated when someone loves something so much that they can’t not do it. My daughter is like that. When she finds something she likes, she is all-in and goes deep. I have little patience and get bored quickly. I envy people who can stick with something and get better at it with determination and practice. (Did I mention self-deprecation is a hallmark of my personality?)
What else do you love about Taos?
The first time I ever felt a sense of community was in Taos. I built an earthship in the mid-90s and quickly had like-minded neighbors and friends. I no longer live in that house, but have maintained an amazing small group of socially conscious, creative friends. I’m embarrassed to say we’re mostly transplants—who it seems all came here for some shared thing we saw in this place. Taos marks the first time I’d met someone who didn’t own a television.
Then of course, there’s the Big Sky and clean air (no more stage 1 smog alerts). I have a confession: while I love the landscape, I am not much of an outdoor person. So far I’ve not been asked to leave.
Who’s your favorite Taos artist?
No one favorite really. I admire many Taos artists… Dean Pulver’s incredible wood sculptures. I love this painting by Ginger Mongiello. This Paul Pascarella painting. Abby Salsbury’s deco plates and prints, J Matt Thomas’ geometric work. Maria Samora’s matte silver geometric jewelry. And I’m late to discover the gorgeous and moving work of recent Paseo Project Travelling Artist in Residence Program recipient, Nikesha Breeze.
Favorite music or musician?
I’m going to do book/author instead because I know so little about music. My favorites are David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day), Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors, Dry), John Irving (World According to Garp), and JD Salinger (Franny and Zooey). There’s a common thread there somewhere—of cynicism, soul-searching, and irreverent humor deeply rooted in pain and dysfunction. And atheism.
My standard answer is The Big Chill (see reasons, number 8). I’ve also always loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (original) – for all the imagination and color, the human hand wall hooks, the edible room, and vivid, ghastly characters. The way Mike TV’s body travelled across the room in a million tiny particles messed me up for years. Anything Wes Anderson, because design. I can’t wait for The French Dispatch.
Tell us something about you that nobody knows about.
Much of my family is in the entertainment industry in LA, (notably my father worked on Seinfeld). For a while I wanted to be an Art Director (Set Designer) for children’s programming, (I got over it). In high school I was an intern for the production company that made Roseanne, (I know, it was a different time). I saw Roseanne Barr pee herself on set from laughing too hard (and beverages). Around that time a family friend invited me to a Tonight Show with Johnny Carson taping that I watched from the control booth. Cyndi Lauper was appearing, an 80s teenager’s dream. I happened to be behind Lauper in the line at the Commissary that day. The cook behind the counter couldn’t understand her verrry Queens accent, so I had to translate for her, “She’ll have a tuna fish saaaaandwich.” Jim Hensen was there, (plain clothes, no Kermit). Images that stick with me. So silly and couldn’t be further than my current reality, now to just leave the house…