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* Resume/bio *
As long as I have been alive, I've been an artist, though I never took my talent seriously - my ambitions lied in Archaeology. It wasn't until my junior year of high school that I began to take lessons from one of my grandmother's artist friends, Pat Percy. Seeing that I had potential she asked if I would like to become her assistant. She taught a children's art class and I was to help set-up, aid when they needed it, demonstrate, etc. It was an enjoyable experience, especially seeing how these kids could create and how their imaginations worked - completely uninhibited. I learned from them. The following summer, Pat and I took a printmaking workshop from one of her friends, Hope Barton, a local gallery owner. After the two day session, they came to an agreement: the classes were going to be moved to the gallery and I would become an intern as well as remain Pats assistant.

I spent my weekends there at the gallery soaking up as much information as I could. Between gallery management, printmaking techniques and the numerous workshops and the artists I worked with, it was probably the most educational experience I have ever had. After graduating high school I applied and was accepted to the Ringling College of Art and Design where I majored in Photography and Digital Imaging. However when I informed my friends and family of my choice of major they were less than thrilled, for they felt (and maybe still do) that photography is not art and I was wasting my skills. At school, I worked in the photo lads and during breaks I returned to the gallery. Sadly, Hope closed her place of business but I stayed on as her personal/studio assistant and would do so until I left for New York. While at school I continued to experiment with processes, not only in photography, but in printmaking as well, which earned me recognition from students and staff alike. I was in numerous shows and received recognition for my work including awards from Kodak, local photography studios and the school itself, receiving its highest honor as Trustee Scholar. I graduated as one of only seven photo majors and decided that the time was right for me to move to New York.

I've collected antiques since the age of eight and decided that they had served their purpose; they were going to help fund my moving. It was sad and still makes me somewhat so to think about the photo collection I sold - the daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, Civil War carte de visits and so much more. I had to work a lot and save as much as I could. The time had come for me to leave and my fist day in New York was hell. My soon-to-be-roommate and I met up; we seemed to walk for ages trying to take care of apartment issues all the while I was lugging my suitcase and portfolio around the city. It was the end of August and I was saturated with sweat, needless to say I was livid and exhausted. I should have realized that my first day in New York was a prelude to how my first year was going to be; not easy. I had no job, phone, money, food or bed. By the time the first of the month came around I had to call my grandmother to pay my rent. I found work in retail, two different stores, both of which paid next to nothing. I remember my first paycheck being a fantastic $98. I worked as much as I could and when I wasn't working, I was wondering the city trying to learn her every street and curve. My family would send food, pots, pans and other household items. I slept on a mattress pad for a year before I could afford to buy a bed. I took paper and pencils from work so I could at least draw since I could afford to do little else. I was literally a starving artist - it wasn't as glamorous as it seemed.

"Work will set you free" became my motto, I stole it from the gates of Auschwitz and put it over my door. All I did was work and work hard. I quit Express and focused on J Crew for they offered me more time and money. I was a member of the visual team at their Rockefeller Center store and every two weeks we had the store change-over, which meant overnights lasting roughly eleven to fifteen hours each night. I was there for eight months when, during one of these overnights, a recruiter from Saks Fifth Avenue saw me working in the window and contacted me. It was the escape I was looking for. After a series of clandestine phone calls during work hours and interviews during lunch and after work, I got the job. Within a month I left J Crew and crossed the street to Saks Fifth Avenue, literally.

Saks Fifth Avenue was the mother ship of visual merchandising. I started working in the interior visuals and was quickly promoted to the designer floors. The great thing about Saks was the nonchalance of the celebrity clientele. At J Crew, a celebrity would wonder in every now and then, but at Saks it was an everyday occurrence. Moreover, I was able to meet top designers, go to fashion parties and eventually go to New York Fashion Week. After two years of working on the floors, an opening became available in the windows department. I jumped and got it. Working as a window designer for one of the top stores in New York was like a drug, it was exhilarating and one of the best jobs I have ever had and having to leave was probably one the hardest things I've ever done. I lived in New York's Upper East Side for four years in an over-priced one bedroom apartment with a roommate, the expense of which began to become overwhelming and burdensome. I didn't make enough to save; every cent went to rent, metro card and food. When the lease came up for renewal, it became ridiculously expensive and I decided that it was time to move on. I was at a fork in the road; do I stay here and work for Saks, have a steady income and security or pursue my art, my lifelong passion. I cannot live if I cannot create. All the while living there I was unable to produce art work save for some pen and ink drawings, small sculpture and monoprints, forms of art that were inexpensive and easy to do in an apartment. I was living in New York, artist capitol, and was completely uninspired.

The decision was made, I had to leave and start anew. I was going to move back home to Florida and focus on my work there before I was propositioned by a friend. She had moved to a small town outside of Boston and demanded I move in with her. I couldn't say no. Though it was just a brief layover; within six months we moved to Arizona! Just another step in the process of becoming me.

Education

B.F.A. from Ringling School of Art and Design Sarasota, Florida 2003 Major: Photography and Digital Imaging

Computer Programs

Mac and PC formats - Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe GoLive, Microsoft Office.

Professional Experience

Window Designer for Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave, New York, NY

Aid in window concepts, styling of mannequins (including hair and makeup), production (building and installation of props), working alongside designers and vendor reps, handling of art and antiques, special events set-up and vinyl application.

Visual/ Merchandiser for J Crew, Flagship store, Rockefeller Center, New York

Aid in window concepts, styling of mannequins, planning floor moves, working with corporate executives to successfully execute directives, and assisting in sales.

Studio Assistant to Hope Barton Studio, Printmaker

Proofing and printing etched plates, project collaboration, photographing her work, web design, marketing research and matting and framing.

Gallery Assistant, Hope Barton Fine Arts

Gallery management (working with artists, packing and sending work, general bookkeeping/ office duties), visual merchandising, hanging art work, web, advertisement and brochure design, sales and greeting, matting and framing.

Lighting studio and photo lab technician, Ringling School of Art and Design

Assisting students with assignments, aiding with computers and printers, maintaining both the color and black and white darkrooms, loaning and maintaining photo equipment.

Assistant art instructor for summer art classes for children from elementary to high school

Setting up, aiding students, demonstrating, organizing and filing collections of images.

Exhibitions

2003 Group Show, The Quay, Sarasota, FL
2003 Imagery (group show) Abraxis Gallery, Sarasota, FL
2003 Best of Ringling, Selby Gallery, Sarasota FL *Mary McCulley Studio Award
2002 Best of Ringling, Selby Gallery, Sarasota, FL *Booth Studio Award
2001 Best of Ringling, Selby Gallery, Sarasota, FL *Kodak Black and White Award, Booth Studio Award
2001 South Lake Art League Photography Show, Clermont, FL *First Place
2000 Student Art Show, Hope Barton Fine Arts, Clermont, FL *Third place
2000 South Lake Art League Photography Show, Clermont, FL *Best of Show
2000 Untitled with Thomas Martin and Paul Hargrave, Crossley Gallery, Sarasota, FL


Specialized Skills

Computer Programs
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe GoLive
Printmaster
Microsoft Works
Microsoft Word
Macromedia Freehand
Director 8

Framing - matting and archival framing
Darkroom - processing and printing black and white film, printing color film, printing
Cibrochrome
Fashion design/ tailoring

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