This is a work in progress. As it should be. It is likely to change as I change as a person and as an artist. But at the moment this is a snapshot of who I am and what I’m about. It’s the product of a year’s worth of development and mentorship in the Artists U program and owes a large debt of gratitude to Makoto Hirano and Andrew Simonet.
I create works of memoir and dramatic art built with the tools of comedy. My work puts a pin in a map; it creates an emotional record. A laugh that echoes. And in that laugh I’m constructing a story. My overarching aim is to create new spaces in old narratives which allow for complexity and extraordinary experiences in ordinary guise. I seek to make work that enlarges your sense of yourself; I’m trying to make sure each person knows that they are not alone.
Imagine Ira Glass meets Mindy Kaling. Sort of. The host of a show once described me as an amalgam of Woody Allen, Cathy the cartoon lady, and Aunt Jemima. Really weird, but also accurate. I am full of neuroses. And syrup. Like my work these descriptions are ambitious, sometimes incongruous, and intentionally racialized—“othered”. They are neither here nor there. I’m interested in these in-between places.
I use comedy to explore these places because my work is rooted always in hope. I am telling stories of the American experience, pockmarked with tragedy and struggle, and I’m discovering the reason we continue to raise our voices, to step forward, to tell our stories. I make art to contribute to the goodness of the world; I’m an artist because I believe the world is essentially good and overflowing with the opportunity to be better. That is the story I’m telling.
My work is driven by the idea of “otherness”, particularly American otherness. I collect stories, anecdotes, histories, and create pieces that have one foot in drama and one foot in documentary. I use comedy to hold up a mirror to specific perspectives because comedy is malleable and sophisticated, our best tool to convey the intricacy of reality.
But maybe it’s a funhouse mirror where your torso looks really short and your legs look long. Which isn’t to say it’s inaccurate—maybe you do have a short torso; I don’t know your life—but rather it takes seriously a sense of whimsy. It’s got a rosey hue and stickers from bands littering the corners and at the top, written in lipstick, it says “Theresa wuz here.” So, the central question of my work is “Who is Theresa?”