In the nineteen-nineties, I saw an exhibit of Ethiopian sacred art. I was amazed by the use of color and pattern, how this conveyed pathos and emotion. The Ethiopian icons showed me that there were different visual traditions and I was not tied to what I grew up with. I had also been interested in the Pattern and Decoration Movement. As a child I had been taught to do various needlework crafts and loved the decorative aspect of them. But I was unsure how to bring this into my artwork. Seeing the Ethiopian icons showed me a way to do that. I lived with these images for many years before incorporating more pattern and decoration into my work.
A few years ago I decided to do a still life as a collage using some decorative papers I had for another project. I liked the result and realized that the still life collages gave me a reason to play with color and pattern. I used to think still life was a boring subject until this element of play became a part of my approach to it.
I have always wanted to do paintings with some religious content. Growing up, most religious images were excessively sentimental and had to be done in a certain style that I was not interested in. I wanted an image that was tied to a tradition but not limited to a narrow perspective, visually or theologically.
Playing with color and pattern is a very important part of my practice regardless of the subject matter.