Artist based in Oakland, CA
Dance Doyle, Portrait of the artist.
Tell us about yourself, what's your background?
I'm a multi-disciplinary artist who grew up in Oakland, CA.
My hands were in clay at 8 years old. During my formative years, ceramic hand-building, detailed glazing, and slip-casting with hand-made molds became my passion when working with clay. I majored in ceramics at San Francisco State University in 2004. I found the department to be limited to traditional. I had to take another studio art class, and Textiles was the only class open.
(left) Jingletown, 2022, woven tapestry, 85” x 32” x .5” (right) Jingletown (detail)
This image depicts a woman dancing unapologetically on the street in Jingletown, a neighborhood in Oakland. She has a swagger and is moving to a beat. This work is a nod to the nostalgia of an old era in Oakland where urban life included dancing on the street, smoking, and self-expression. a release from the stresses of urban life. Hand Dyed wool, merino wool, silk, cotton, linen, vintage metal twine, sequencing, and mixed media.
"I free-form weave in large sections ... The surprise element feeds me the most in this process because I apply self-taught, skilled techniques to a concept image still developing in my head mid-weave."
(left) Fight or Fight (detail) (right) Fight or Fight, 2023, woven tapestry, 63" x 54" x .5"
Violence is a human experience and this work visually journals my own struggle growing up with familial violence in an urban environment. Hand-dyed wool, merino wool, silk, cotton, linen, vintage metal twine, sequencing, and mixed media.
What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?
After falling in love with weaving structures, I felt creatively re-born. I immediately switched my major. After my degree, I became self-taught at tapestry through trial and error. I've never used any cartoons to aid my practice because I never had any teacher tell me to use one. I draw small sketches of the rough desired image, pin it to the castle of my floor loom and go from there. I free-form weave in large sections as well. The surprise element feeds me the most in this process because I apply self-taught, skilled techniques to a concept image still developing in my head mid-weave. This unknowing element is similar to my detailed glazing in ceramics. You became able to predict it, but it was always a surprise when pulled out of the kiln.
Today, my focus has been to create meaningful work through shaped, contemporary tapestry.
(left) Tune In, 2020, woven tapestry, 65" x 20" x .5" (right) Tune In (detail)
This shaped work depicts an abstract form of a woman walking through the city's streets at night. In this depiction, she’s entirely consumed by the energy in the air and she’s tuning in to some force that's bigger than herself. All the light and dark blue designs around her at the top are woven free-form. Hand-dyed wool, merino wool, linen, cotton, mohair, metal, sequencing, and mixed media.
Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?
I get most of my inspiration from walking the streets and processing every visual I see.
I attend copious amounts of live shows where the music can bring me somewhere I haven't necessarily gone before. I went to endless museums and art shows growing up so all that classical and non-classic visual inspiration/exposure in the arts has been forever etched into the forefront of my thinking even though so much of it is subconscious now. Nature's also represented many times in my work with woven grass and palm trees. That is because they line the streets of Oakland, CA, where I'm from. Also, there's nature everywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dark blue skies always look better if green shows up somewhere. I'll usually create grasses with mohair, cotton, and wool dyed in different shades of green. Mohair's has the best look though, so far. For me, everything can be a dialogue that can be an interesting and inspiring thing to un-earth and explore.
(left) 3 AM (detail) (right) 3 AM, 2019, woven tapestry, 101" x 37" x .5"
This work tells the story of a young woman who is shooting heroin in a bathroom down in the city at 3 am. In the mania of her high, she's floating above the city, moving towards the steps of city hall, bringing her problems there. This work is about harm reduction and the current politics over addiction and homelessness in big cities such as San Francisco, CA. Hand-dyed wool, merino wool, silk, cotton, mohair, linen, vintage metal twine, and mixed media.
Describe your practice and process. Where do ideas start for you? In the studio or being in the world?
Being out in the world is where most of my ideas for work come from. When I'm ready to make a piece, I get to my studio, and once my hands are moving, it's clear what I have to do. I'm not sure how else to describe it. My fingers are directly turning expression and thought in real-time into an unwritten woven verse.
Work in progress — Tune In, 2020, woven tapestry, 65" x 20" x .5"
How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?
Yes, after weeks of basically obsessing about it, I make a small sketch. If I'm happy with the general layout of the design I'll just start weaving. everything gets pretty clear after that.
Work in progress — Fight or Fight, 2023, woven tapestry, 63" x 54" x .5"
Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?
I need to work hard every day but I also need to live my life as well. That includes self-care. It's a balance that's different for everyone.
For me, it's all about early mornings. That's when I have my best energy.
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences came from 1980s/90s fashion, Hip-Hop culture, Julia Morgan, Hannah Ryggen, 90s movie posters, Dali, and trying to be the best human I can be for my dog. Mentors in my life have been Erin M. Riley, Mary Zicafoose, Susan Iverson, and Deborah Corsini. They have all helped me tremendously in their own way.
Are there books or films that are an important source of inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from raw emotions in this world and the good music that can accompany it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It's not what you don't know that'll kill you. It's what you know for sure, but just ain't so.
Work in progress
What is the best advice you would give to other artists?
Try your best to keep working and don't be afraid to take risks.
You can't fail, it's all poetry.