1. Do you see the creation of your work as a ritual that you cannot live without?
I could not see myself not exploring the world around me and engaging it with inquisitiveness and wonder. The art was born from that approach to life. While I feel confident that I could be doing this artform for the rest of my life and always have more to explore, I do not feel bound to the work on beaches. But it is the capacity to express my explorations- that is something that makes my soul sing.
2. How do you begin your creations? Is it always the same process?
Each artwork has its own path and requires its own approach. Generally (when I don't feel rushed by the pressure of the incoming tide) I begin with a few deep chi gong breaths and give thanks to the beach for being available and welcoming. It feels important to me not just to slow down and get centered, but to acknowledge the location, to not take it for granted.
3. What emotions does the creation of your work inspire in you? e.g. tranquility, happiness, peace?
It is interesting how simply being at the beach can be restorative, even a beach in a major city such as San Francisco. Once near the water the rest of the sounds of the city wash away. With bare feet in the sand, breathing fresh ocean air, the mind is cleared and all outside cares dissolve. Once I am in motion, I am highly focused. Someone filming me once remarked that she thought it would look more zen, but instead I am hyperfocused and look serious. From my own perspective, in order to keep everything working together at such a large scale I must been keenly aware of all that is happening and be able to always hold the larger picture. Finishing a piece and seeing it from above is always a happy moment, a sense of accomplishment and pride.
4. How do the seasons affect your work? ie do you work differently in summer and winter?
As it turns out, I don't change my approach, but the beach itself often changes. The winter storms wash away beach sand, flattening the beaches, often extending them, and allowing the high tide to get quite high up the beach. This means more space to work. My largest creations were during the winter. Summer generally means the beach builds back up and so high tide doesn't get as much beach wet. So I schedule my more ambitious projects for the winter time. Other than that, since I work mainly in california, the beach is available year round.
5. What else are you passionate about?
I love studying nature itself- I can be endlessly fascinated by small details that I see all the time every day all around me. I love to examine cultural and modern artforms. I absolutely love Contact Improvisation dance. I am passionate about good eating and good living, being in places that feed my soul and give me energy. I love to explore new places, especially where the mountains meet the shore or where water runs through steep valleys.
6. How does working in silence affect you and the people you are creating with? (and the work)?
When I am working I do so in silence. I do not listen to music, just the sounds of the ocean. It keeps me present to what I am doing. It keeps me centered. It is very easy to make mistakes if one is not being fully attentive. This weekend I am doing my first group artwork (involving others in the art-making) which is intended to be silent. I am looking forward to what this can offer the participants.
7. anything else you would like to say about your work as a ritual?
These days I am dedicating the artworks to something, generally to harmony and upliftment. It has me be aware that everything we do can be a opportunity to send out higher intentions, to work for something beyond whatever is directly in front of us. While it is easy to see a ritual as a specific act, our lives can be seen as a long ritual- full of intention and meaning. Also, ritual can often feel stiff and formal. But I see the act of affirming higher intention as a living act, a celebration of life. Aho!