I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. During my adolescence, creating became my main outlet for healing self-expression and therapy. It was during this stage that I recognized art as a life calling of mine, and decided to apply to Massachusetts College of Art to major in Illustration. I enjoyed the technical drawing and painting lessons the illustration department provided, but I realized my concepts and interest matters leaned more towards activism and providing a voice for marginalized communities.

After graduating in 2015, I focused on building my portfolio towards my vision. During this time, I have completed over 20 private commissions while working various jobs in retail. I have experimented with different ways of marketing myself and my work, and have worked on projects ranging from film posters to fashion patterns. My body of work allowed me the opportunity to work as a Residential Artist for the renowned House of Blues in Boston. In that setting, I had the pleasure of creating several murals and large projects over the past three years.During the pandemic, I discovered a calling to create more public art for my communities, since gathering in spaces became obsolete. In July of 2020, I created a mural on a utility box for Central Square BID in Cambridge Massachusetts. The piece was a visual interpretation of the violence and pain of gentrification on the BIPOC community. Soon after, I created another mural for the Punto Urban Museum where I captured the fantasy of an elder free from being overworked in our capitalist society. Through creating these pieces, I feel that my vision of creating meaningful “artivism” has began to come to fruition.

Project Description:

Body dysmorphia, gender dysphoria, low self esteem and eating disorders within youths of color are topics that are often overlooked in the broader conversation of mental health. The intersectionality of societal pressure through white beauty standards, classism, and gender expectations affect youths of color differently than their white counter parts. My very own experience from childhood mirrors these same struggles. It was this that inspired me to create something that truly validates this issue while also promoting body positivity. The project I would like to propose is an accessible children’s book that confront these topics in a heartfelt and humorous way. Using the vast diversity of birds as a metaphor for human diversity, my character will go though a journey of self love and appreciation of ones qualities outside of societal pressures of aesthetics.

I aim to write and illustrate between 15-20 pages and would like to hire a consultant on bird behaviors; I feel using such an animal with vast diversity gives opportunity for education. I also would like to collaborate with another queer BIPOC writer on the writing and editing of the book. In terms of accessibility, I plan to make this book a free PDF, audiobook if possible, while also printing hardcover copies to gift to Boston Public Schools (and more institutions as the scope of the project is further realized).

In addition, I would be interested in hiring Boston-born Neon Calypso, an well known transgender artist and activist, to read the book to children as she has done at many public libraries. With the support of the Ashe Ashe Grant, I believe I can make this project fully realized within a year’s time or sooner.