Artist's Statement

In this world of smartphones, laptops and virtual worlds, the average person lives in their own personal bubble and—for the most part—has shut out their natural surroundings. Why even notice your physical environment at all when you can simply call familiar people or slip into a virtual environment? I feel this detachment from the natural world can lead people to feel carelessness toward nature and its creatures. By walking around the campus of a university for over nine years, I’ve noticed people often passing through their natural setting in a daze without realizing the most beautiful and subtle things in their environment.

Through my vivid oil paintings, I strive to inspire individuals to reconnect physically and spiritually with nature. Birds can be found in every habitat, no matter how urban, and they are constant reminder of the natural world. I am drawn to the role birds play in different cultures, and I am of no particular denomination, but I sincerely empathize with the Shinto notion that birds hold spiritual significance. Followers of Shinto feel birds are the feathered messengers between this life and the next. Sometimes this spiritual connection I feel with birds manifests itself as bizarre dreams of relationships between human and bird.

There are many aspects of art and the world I do not know and wish to explore; I wholeheartedly embrace Rembrandt van Rijn’s advice to, “practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.” I am constantly setting goals and tests for myself because I believe a true artist never runs out of challenges and opportunities to improve. Art is my life’s purpose; there is no substitute for the satisfaction I gain from it.


My parents intended to foster an artistic environment for me, but their efforts somewhat fell short. During the last two years of high school, I moved away from a difficult, mentally-ill family life into the home of a concerned and compassionate art teacher, Brenda Semanick and her husband David Vandenberg. In my senior year, I earned a full tuition waiver and the competitive scholarships to attend the University of Arizona. In my undergraduate studies, I had many wonderful instructors cultivate and direct my creativity, but the whole experience progressed too quickly. Due to the unsteady nature of an artist's income, I am fortunate to be currently working as a Web site developer and graphic artist at the University of Arizona for the Student Affairs Systems Group. I also do freelance Website work and developed my own business, Studio RLM.