Artist Statement

My current body of work focuses on the ecological and social impacts of the deceased and their personal effects. Death is the one inevitable event that we will face. I believe that it is important to think about the lasting effects our bodies and belongings can have on the environment post mortem. Inspired by objects I find at auctions, on the side of the road, and in nature. I assemble, cut, and stitch them together to create something new. Conceptually every piece centers around what happens after death to the objects we value during our lifetimes. By recontextualizing the objects that I find I am able to create a new story. At times the objects point directly towards death at other times they are less obvious in their intent. Toe tags and bones are among the objects that are clearly about death. Discarded fabric or a Final Destination VHS tape found on the side of a highway are some of the found objects that are more subtle in their approach. After the death of my cat Rigby last fall I made the decision to bury her in a simple white sheet. My goal was to make her return to the earth, gentle and natural. I was inspired to create a burial shroud for myself so that my body could have the same treatment when I die. What I created was a modern colorful burial shroud made entirely of cotton fabric and thread making it 100% biodegradable. Much of my most recent work is created using natural dyes such as onion skin, avocado pits, turmeric, and indigo. In the future, I plan to create new and improved burial shrouds using these natural dye processes. The work you are seeing today was created while writing my Master’s thesis which focused on research about alternative body disposition methods and the death positive movement. Alternative body disposition methods include body donation to body farms (or human decomposition research centers), body composting, infinity mushroom suits, and natural burial. My art is heavily influenced by this research and I hope to keep exploring the topic.  

Tenets of the Death Positive Movement

  1. I believe that by hiding death and dying behind closed doors we do more harm than good to our society.

  2. I believe that the culture of silence around death should be broken through discussion, gatherings, art, innovation, and scholarship.

  3. I believe that talking about and engaging with my inevitable death is not morbid, but displays a natural curiosity about the human condition.

  4. I believe that the dead body is not dangerous, and that everyone should be empowered (should they wish to be) to be involved in care for their own dead.

  5. I believe that the laws that govern death, dying and end-of-life care should ensure that a person’s wishes are honored, regardless of sexual, gender, racial or religious identity.

  6. I believe that my death should be handled in a way that does not do great harm to the environment.

  7. I believe that my family and friends should know my end-of-life wishes, and that I should have the necessary paperwork to back-up those wishes.

  8. I believe that my open, honest advocacy around death can make a difference, and can change culture.