My art is grounded in a desire for interaction with the natural world and with natural materials that maintain some portion of their inherent vitality and fluidity long after they are removed from the ecosystems in which they arose. Materials like stones, beeswax and branches act as a locus; the need to understand them, to adapt my practice to them provides insight into the environment that formed them. The resulting drawings and sculptures reflect that understanding, not through a literal reproduction of the visible landscape, but instead in forms first distilled then allowed to branch out and take on a new vitality.
My work has been exhibited in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. I have been profiled on PBS' "Defining Art," in the pages of Voices of Art and other publications, as well as in photographer Stefan Falke's exhibition and book La Frontera, which highlights artists along the U.S.-Mexico border.
As Co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands Team and Conservation Co-chair for Sierra’s Lower Rio Grande Valley regional group, I advocate on behalf of the natural world that is the impetus for my art. The focus of much of my activism is the environmental and human impacts of federal enforcement along the U.S. – Mexico border, particularly the hundreds of miles of walls that slice through ecosystems and communities along the borderlands. My work on the issue led the Texas Observer to name me a "Tyrant's Foe."
As part of my ongoing efforts to raise awareness of these impacts and move public opinion and policy I have given numerous interviews, from National Public Radio and Public Radio International to MSNBC and the Associated Press, and many other news outlets. I have also published articles and op-eds in magazines and newspapers ranging from the Texas Observer to the Christian Science Monitor, High Country News and the Austin-American Statesman, and some that have been distributed via the Progressive Magazine to McClatchy-affiliated newspapers. My writing has also appeared in the two-volume book of images and essays titled The American Wall.
I am an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at South Texas College, where I teach studio arts courses at campuses just a few miles north of the Rio Grande. Along with drawing and painting classes I regularly teach Capstone for students on the cusp of graduation and serve as an advisor for the Visual Arts club. The community that I serve has one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation, and many of my students are the first in their family to attend college.
Prior to accepting a position at South Texas College, from 2000 through 2005 I taught study abroad summer courses at the La Suerte Biological Field Station in the lowland rain forest of Costa Rica and at the Ometepe Biological Field Station on the volcanic island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. There I taught Drawing the Landscape, Mixed Media in the Rainforest, and Earth Sculpture courses, introducing students to the range of natural materials available for the creation of drawings, sculptures, and installations.