Biography: A relatively short walk to here.
I believe places give the body knowledge and these knowing senses are impressed into our biology. Facing reality can be a deeply transcendental experience through accessing the forces of feeling before the sense is translated to language. I went into art as a way to understand nature and present its teachings in reverence and wonder.
I was born in 1984 to loving parents in Dixon, Illinois. On a waning gibbous moon in September, alongside the Rock River, I entered the world into by Dr. Chung’s hands. After my brother and I were around 12 years, my mother took working with children in classrooms for behavior and developmental challenges. My father was a nuclear control room operator and instructor at the Byron Power Station in Illinois. Two and a half hours Northwest of Chicago, we were surrounded by forest and fields. My brother and I attended public school. I focused so I could return home free to work on art projects after school. We had 4-TV channels and a time limit on watching or video games. To this day, I attribute clear boundaries and structure to developing the discipline required to focus on developing artistic skills.
Dance training began in the cafeteria in 1990 and would remain a part of my life until college. After some gymnastics courses, I had a brief lapse with cheerleading; regretting the exploration wishing I had stuck exclusively with tap, jazz, and ballet, so I could have become a dancer. As a youth, I pushed such thoughts aside, as I was also busy with choir. The dream of being a performer made me uncomfortable despite the joy I gained in the activities.
After opening the piano during a family reunion in Maryland, I covered up my trespass of touching my relative’s furniture without permission by presenting my Oma with the keys I had opened, inviting her. When I heard the beautiful sounds, the fear, remorse and guilt of my faux-pax was filled with feeling and beauty; I asked to learn and started practice on a keyboard, eventually proving I was serious enough to play on a real piano. From 1993 onward, I trained in classical piano for 12 years playing in the Lutheran Church for the congregation and hoping to compose and perform music someday such as my high school idol, Fiona Apple.
After failing an aptitude test by a few points to join an accelerated learning program in elementary school, I felt unchallenged and began to read philosophy. I preferred book stores and libraries to rural partying schemes. Due to various frustrations and stresses at the time, I started yoga, meditation, and journaling around 1999. I knew inside, I would need to leave the small town to pursue my dream of attending art school.
In 2002, I completed my high school coursework early with honours and an independent study in fashion design. After working 2 jobs for several months, I moved to the suburbs in 2003 and began studying Interior Design in Schaumburg, Illinois. While in school, I lacked the confidence to forage into renovation design, and switched majors to Advertising, so I could find work. Instead of moving to New York or L.A., I went to Chicago to be with my boyfriend and took up a serious interest in photography.
By 2006, I was living in Chicago, after completing a Bachelor of Art in Advertising. I had taken a study abroad course on culture to New Zealand and Australia. This was my first taste of international travel and first-hand experience with sheep farming for wool and free swimming amongst the Great Barrier Reef. Photography was a way for me to share the beauty and pleasure with those I loved who were not able to be there.
After riding a tumultuous economic flux as a copywriter and creative marketer in Chicago, I moved around a bit and completed a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training certificate in 2012. I moved to Winnetka, Illinois, and found work at a local gallery doing professional framing, glass cutting, event photography, and eventually found work managing a gallery sales shop and events the College of Lake County in Grayslake. I took the opportunity to study Darkroom and History of Photography courses and traveled on scholarship to Japan for Social Psychology, self-publishing my 2nd photography book, Bound By Water. The experiences working for 22nd Century Media challenged me to develop my photography skills in seeing the everyday as complicated and humorous in nuance. I sought a way to teach art. I had come to admire the work of Edward Weston, Sally Mann, and Olafur Eliasson after installing the Moss Wall at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. I felt creatively constricted by cliches in photography and sought to see where the limits of photography are and dig into meaning and the elements of being, becoming, and form relative to the way people see. Vision and Body would steer me through the next decade of research and work.
In 2013 my application to graduate school was accepted. Excited and deeply nervous, I moved to Los Angeles, California, quickly feeling overwhelmed by the difference I came to learn between Modernist values and Post-Modernity. I explored the events and technology developed during WWII, the psychological functions of photography, and trade histories in commerce and countercultural movements, phenomenological experience, trauma, and developed a concern about the impacts of technology on the human body, and the influence of politics and state on the nuclear family. As hate-driven social policies grew in popularity, I sought ways to expose people to the feeling of beauty in as direct ways as I could. My background and approach were faced with deconstructionist and post-modern philosophy in context to international perspectives in weekly 6-hour critiques. I balanced stress with several 90 minutes yoga sessions and excessive hours in my studio exploring materials, methods, processes.
In 2014, I met a consultant in technology and photographer online who traveled from Trondheim to meet me in L.A. A few months later, I was going to Norway-a country I had never heard of. We developed a relationship and we decided to marry, so I could move to Norway to join with him in 2015 after I completed my Master of Fine Art. Upon moving to Oslo, I became aware of the nuances in my family history, including my mother’s side having started Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago and Ellen Aurora Elisabeth Morgenröte Ammann‘s activism against socialism and for women’s rights.
The move to Norway was full of conflict and faced with pressure I moved back to California in 2016 to live in Santa Monica, completing my first permanent public space installation and trademarks with USTPO for Yoto Studio. This stint in California was cut short due to health problems; I returned to live in Oslo, in 2017, marking a busy series of years creating artwork and further studying the relationship between psychology and physiology. The slowly developing interest in textiles led to testing products with my artwork printed on it. The slow evolution coupled with vision challenges after an eye trauma resulted in the continued pursuit of developing ideas for art people can touch and pedagogical coursework.
As of today, my work remains within the medium best suited to the themes of the project. I still sing, dance (never enough), and enjoy music whenever possible. I’m working on editing and compiling 20 years of photography, building artgarde.org, and facing a shift in the way I work in the future.
Thank you for joining me this far. I hope we meet to write the next decades with delight and reverence.