In 2005 I discovered a beautiful accident in my grandmother’s basement; a stack of tissue paper was stained by water from a leaking pipe. Finding the watermarked paper changed the trajectory of my artistic career.
Over the course of a decade I have experimented with tissue paper in a myriad of ways and patented several creative processes including Tissue Ink Monoprints, which is a complex application of dyeing paper and blending ink onto another substrate. When the tissue paper is dried, it’s ripped and reformed into Tissue Quilts and recycled sculptures. I also create Tissue Spirals out of paper, using the smallest scraps and tape. My most recent experimentation incorporates the use of a pottery wheel, which creates a visual vortex, resulting in Spinning Tissue Ink Monoprints, and Spinning Tissue Ink Mono/Photo Prints.
Both delicate and resilient, the use of tissue paper poses questions surrounding preservation, “high” and “low” art, and the attribution of value for objects. What fuels our desire to protect? What makes something precious? How much pressure is needed until something is ripped? Is it destroyed? Can one find strength and power in fragility? Do you still appreciate the beauty of now, even if you know it will ultimately fade away? My Godmother and namesake, Maya Angelou, said it most eloquently when she described my artwork as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and the strength of the human being.”
Although I do work with paper, it is fortified, strong and resilient. I’ve created permanent installations around the world, and am now expanding outside the gallery and museum walls, into corporate venues, government institutions, hotel/hospitality, healthcare facilities and private events. Reactions to my installations are varied, from the young to the old, they all include immense curiosity.
Tissue paper as a medium, reflects my own personal struggles, and allows me to visualize the whimsical and transient nature of emotions. Even after working over 14 years with the same medium, I am still finding new ways to play!