Tag: 2014

John Paul Caponigro Lecture

Recently at the Taubman Museum of Art here in Roanoke, we had an exhibition featuring the work of father and son photographers Paul Caponigro and John Paul Caponigro. I taught several art lessons inspired by their work and came to really love the photographs.

Right before the show was deinstalled, John Paul came to do a lecture on his creative process and I was fortunately able to attend. He is a wonderful speaker and so positive and encouraging. Something that especially resonated with me were his thoughts on planning and–ready for it?–attention. I mentioned earlier this week that I would bring this up again. The theme for my first summer residency in Chicago was Attention and since then I hear about it everywhere and all the time!

From the SAIC website…

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John Paul brought up the theme of planning and noticing as he talked about the way he works. Basically, once he knows what he’s looking for (he used waves as an example), he notices them everywhere: waves in the sand, waves in the water, waves in the sky. When you pay attention you notice patterns.
jpc notes


John Paul also signed some copies of this book, which showcases his work and his father’s work. Had to get one!

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I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to hear an artist talk about their work and their practice. Take the time to listen and I can almost guarantee that you’ll appreciate the work more afterwards. As always, thanks for reading! xoxo


Fall Semester Work

Untitled (Oil and Water)

Last semester was intense. Along with working a couple part-time jobs and working on side projects, I took my first online MFA class and attempted to maintain a regular studio practice for school. Read more


Looking Back @ 2014

The past year was full of so many new and exciting and terrifying things. There were lots of tears (joy and sadness), lots of ups and downs, lots of questioning, but I have to say I think I came out stronger on the other end. I’m so excited for what the next year will bring, but I want to take a moment to remember some of the good things of 2014.


  • I spent time with my loved ones and did some traveling.

  • I got accepted into and started grad school in Chicago, which allowed me to meet and work with some amazing artists and people (Gregg Bordowitz, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Matthew Buckingham, Laurie Palmer, Joseph Carr, Michal Lynn Shumate, Lynn Tillman, Josiah McElheny, and the whole class of 2016).

  • I saw, in person, paintings that I had grown up only seeing pictures of at the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • I presented my thoughts on the work of Kira Lynn Harris to KLH herself along with my cohort and the LRMFA faculty.

  • I had a one-on-one studio critique with Joseph Grigely.

  • I had group critiques with Glenn Ligon and Wu Tsang.

  • I submitted a bunch of job applications, got a few interviews, and finally got a great job at an art museum where I met some more wonderful people.

  • I cheered on my brother at various shows including a concert where he opened for Robert Cray and another where he played alongside recent Grammy winners Snarky Puppy.

  • I taught lots and lots of little ones and grew as an educator.

  • I participated in a couple art shows and made lots of new work.

  • I donated work to diabetes-related causes.

  • I attended helpful workshops and participated in online classes.

  • I received valuable feedback and advice from my mentor Janet Niewald.

  • I worked with an international musician on a series of T-shirts.

  • I met and talked to the artist and creator of Medical Avatar, Virgil Wong.

  • I made a special painting for a friend. 

  • I celebrated five years with my boyfriend!

My goal for 2015 is mostly to keep working really hard. Managing my time this past semester was quite challenging because I had so much going on, but I’ve already seen the hard work pay off so I know it’s worth it. I have lots of secret projects in mind for the near future (they’re only secret because that’s how I like it at first), and some of those projects involve the structure and content of this site. Another ongoing goal of mine is to keep this place updated and interesting. I love sharing my work and process with whoever happens to stumble across my name or website and I appreciate all of you who have spent a little time here with me. So in closing, thank you and Happy New Year!!


Still Here


I’ve been absent for a couple weeks now and my excuse is just that I’ve been busy (this is a valid excuse, I promise). Anyway, things are wrapping up (no pun intended) as the holiday season quickly approaches, so I am finally finding time to return to the things I’ve had to place on the back burner recently.

Today I am finishing the first paper of my graduate school career (it has been no easy task, but it’s almost done!) Maybe I will post the finished paper in its entirety on the site later, or at least a link to it…but here is a peek:

Picture 8

In the next two weeks I will teach my last museum classes and gifted art classes of the year. Here are some of the projects we have been or will be working on:


Literal art gouache paintings


Monochromatic paintings


Abstract sculptures inspired by Chihuly’s glass pieces

My goals for this month are to finish a commissioned painting, start a new personal project (which I’m really excited and will share details about soon), and relax! I have a lot more to do, but I’ll spare you the list. Hopefully I will be able to post on here more frequently again, but for now, here is some more evidence that I have been alive and well:







Medical Avatar Opening Reception

Ana and Virgil Wong

Last night, I attended the Medical Avatar opening reception with some of my family. There was a great turnout and I was able to meet and talk to Virgil Wong, the man behind the show and the company Medical Avatar. His own artwork was included in the show and he gave a great lecture discussing his process as well as his background and an overview of his work with medical avatars. It was fascinating to hear about this technology that we will probably become very familiar with in the near future.

Wong 1       Wong 2


I’ve been putting up images of these pieces for the past several weeks, but I never really explained the meaning behind them. The first piece in the series, In the Works, depicts the present me. There is a lot of potential in this piece. The pencil grid in the background indicates an ongoing process and a plan. My facial features were drawn or painted and covered up multiple times to represent how I’m still at a point where I can reverse damage that is caused by diabetes and lack of control.

In the Works

The next piece, In Repair, is me five years from now if I continue living with poor control of my diabetes. In this case, poor control can mean several things including poor diet, lack of exercise, neglect to administer insulin and check my bloodsugar levels, etc. This portrait illustrates a combination of symptoms from a variety of complications such as kidney damage and eye disease. Fatigue, weight-loss, burst blood vessels, and nausea are some of the symptoms I chose to depict. The circular shapes in the background are made from a sugar and paint mixture and symbolize a chaotic lifestyle. The peeling away of the paper indicates my approaching death.

In Repair

The last piece in the series, In Control, is me five years from now if I am proactive about my diabetes control. I wanted to make sure to show that even with good control, actually even with near perfect control, I can still suffer from complications. This is why I didn’t want to make the grid in the background too perfect and why I added tiny X’s around my body. The blue ring over my chest is the symbol for diabetes.

In Control

I’m really glad I was able to find time to create work for this show. It was a great experience! The show will be up through March 2015, so make sure to check it out if you are in the Roanoke area. Thanks for reading :]



Medical Avatar: The Health Time Machine

medical avatar

Medical Avatar: The Health Time Machine, is an art exhibition that was organized by Virgil Wong–artist, researcher, and cofounder of Medical Avatar. The opening reception is taking place this Thursday, November 20th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM at The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. Virgil Wong will be giving a lecture at 6:30. Please join us!


World Diabetes Day 2014

WDD collage

Today is World Diabetes Day. This month I spent some time talking to my art students (3rd-5th grade) about diabetes. It was great to start a dialogue with them about this, especially since only a handful knew what diabetes is. Every week, I give them a sketchbook prompt, so I asked them to spend that time drawing a picture or writing words of encouragement for people living with this disease, and they did an awesome job!

Today, spend a few minutes learning about diabetes, even if it’s just learning about what it is exactly or what the symptoms are. Then, make sure to share this information with your loved ones and friends. Wear blue or share info on social media and help spread the word. We need to raise awareness about diabetes, not just because research for a cure requires money, but also because so many people who have diabetes go undiagnosed. Know the signs!

Thank you to everyone who takes part in this fight to find a cure for diabetes. Every effort counts! <3


October Inspiration


1. Piet Mondrian’s grid-like paintings

“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” 

2. Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag


3. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s bright colors and stylized figures


4. Meredith Woolnough’s embroideries


5. Sean Scully’s block paintings


6. Science Festival activities (The museum I work at participated in a science festival and one of the activities we did with the visitors was painting with watercolors and cooking oil. I loved the results so much that I bought the materials and used them in my own work!)

Links: 1/2/3/4/5


National Diabetes Awareness Month 2014

Today marks the beginning of National Diabetes Awareness Month, but more specifically, today is Type 1 Day. Back in 2011, JDRF designated the first day of National Diabetes Awareness Month as Type 1 Day in honor of the millions of people living with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve had Type 1 for almost 21 years now, and as I’ve said before, it doesn’t get easier with time.

World Diabetes Day is coming up on November 14th and I would be so grateful if you showed your support. You can do this simply by wearing the color blue and sharing with people (through social media or word of mouth or whatever!) why you are wearing blue that day.

I just mailed an artwork donation to an organization called Boxes of Joy for Diabetics, which was created by a recently diagnosed young girl in Wisconsin. She discovered that art helped her cope with this difficult change and she decided to share that joy with other recently diagnosed children by sending them handmade cards. They are hosting an art exhibition on World Diabetes Day to raise awareness and celebrate and raise some money for Boxes of Joy. Check them out on Facebook by clicking HERE.

As an art student whose body of work is primarily about diabetes, I’ve been thinking about the d-word even more than usual. Through my own exploration as well as through conversations with my mentor and peers, I’ve learned to think about my disease in different ways. I have so many ideas for this work and I want to try to develop as many of those ideas as possible at this point. I’m looking forward to sharing new work on here as always, and I can’t wait to see what direction these explorations take me.

Please take a moment to play a part in raising awareness about diabetes and the importance of knowing the symptoms of diabetes. Your support is very much appreciated. Thank you!