I believe in muses. Throughout my journey of the arts, there have been major figures, or innovator exemplars who have inspired me to craft and develop my work to what it has become today. If I had to pick the most influential individuals of my work, they would be: Michael Rich, Tayo Heuser, and Michael Jackson.

Michael Rich and Tayo Heuser have been major role models for me since 2005. Both are faculty at Roger Williams University, where I received a bachelors degree in both Visual Arts, as well as Art and Architectural History. In 2006, Michael Rich hired me as his studio assistant. During my time with him, I learned not only the logistics of the business of art, as well as how to run a studio, but also what it means to be an artist. From Rich, I learned the discipline it takes to not only be a successful artist, but also a successful communicator. He believed in my abilities and my vision. He taught me how to find the words, when images were all that existed. He taught me how to find my inspiration, create my vision and convey my intent. He was not only a major influence on how I create my art, my the style of art that I make as well. The years I spent framing, naming and critiquing his work gave me a glimpse into his creative process. I became greatly inspired by his landscape paintings and drawings. Without Michael Rich, I would not have the discipline that I have today, nor the understanding of the responsibilities an artist has as a creator.

If Michael Rich was to be considered the father of my artistic development, than Tayo Heuser would for sure act as the mother of my artistic character. Tayo was my professor and friend throughout all my hears at Roger Williams. She opened doors for me, and gave me unbelievable insight to my work. Together, we explored the meaning of line, place and color. She was my backbone when I couldn't imagine how I could carry on. Her art, and her beautiful character inspired me everyday as I walked into my studio.

Both Michael Rich and Tayo Heuser not only made me who I am as a visual artist, but helped me develop my work to become my own. There reaches a moment in a student-artists practice when they need to stop practicing and start creating meaningful work that represent thought, question, hunger and feeling. This breakthrough came only with the help of these supporting artists and they pushed and shoved and questioned me. At many times I thought to myself "this is too much, I am not an artist, I can not become one". I thought this only because I was breaking new bounds. I was reaching places in my development that were so unknown that I felt uncomfortable. These artist showed me how to embrace the discomfort, and that every uncomfortable feeling was a question that my artwork had begun to inspire in me. I found myself under their wings.

Michael  Jackson has been an inspiration in my life since  the age of six.  Perhaps unconventional, and almost always controversial, Michael Jackson  has been hard to avoid. Everyone knows how eccentric  Jackson was, but what I found as I looked past the media's image of the man, was one of the greatest artists and humanitarians of our day. Unlike many who know Jackson's music, I began my fandom with his album HIStory. As a six year old, I was of course attracted to the music and rhythm of Jackson's songs, but as I listened closer, I recognized  the lyrics of the artist. Lyrics like:
"No force of nature can break your will to self-motivate"
"Everyday create your history"
"How many people have to cry the song of pain and grief across the land? and how many children have to die before we stand to lend a healing hand?"
"Did you ever stop to notice, all the children dead from war? did you ever stop to notice the crying Earth the weeping shores?"

These lyrics were taken from that first album (HIStory) that I ever owned. In these songs, I learned not about the bubblegum love that was sprinkled through the airwaves by the other pop starts of the 90's, but instead i learned about self determination, excepting responsibility as a child of the earth, and what it means to love.
Later, I my mother bought me the album "Dangerous", which included songs such as "Black Or White" and "Heal the World". Each of these songs, as well as the imagery in his video's are not only artistically beautiful, but major works of the a true humanitarian. It may seem silly, but Michael Jackson inspired to me become a community activist, and taught me that art, whether it be music, visual, written or performed CAN make a difference in the world.