“This is my dog Rudee. He goes everywhere with me.
I get to be a clown with Patch Adams in hospitals, prisons, and orphanages. He goes on clown trips around the world, so I emailed his team and got to go. He didn’t use a phone, he wrote letters. He gets thousands of letters a month and responds to every one of them.
Being a clown with kids in hospitals is a human connection at the deepest level that I’ve ever experienced. You walk into a room and everything is so heavy, but they are light, playful, and happy. They just want to laugh. Your heart may be breaking on the inside for them, but you can’t be a crying clown. They don’t want people feeling sorry for them.
Art is my life. My best friend, Tamara, introduced me to the love of my life Jason. We started dating and a couple of years later we founded Yum Arts Collective in 2015, with him. He drew caricatures, and I did henna and face painting. We have grown every year and now have up to 12 employees during the summer doing face painting, hair wraps, festival braids, and airbrush tattoos. We employ incredible artists who may not have another way to make money with their art. We try to help them get started.
In 2020 we bought land in Baldwin County and are creating our own collective with housing for our employees or artists who come and go. We want to create a place for artists and misfits. Society doesn’t have a lot of space for people like us. We are building dome houses made of aircrete that are low cost, energy-efficient, and can withstand hurricanes. We often don’t know what we are doing, but mistakes are part of the process as we dive in. Art comes in the structure. There are a lot of people who told us this wouldn’t work, but here we are.
In 2015, I had a tumble when I was surfing. I broke my ankle and had a near-death experience. I lost consciousness and started to drown. Coming out of that, something just switched in me and my life has never been the same. I need to live every day doing what I want to do because I know we could die at any time.
I started painting surfboards and skateboards. Painting these is deeply meditative and relaxing. I can paint for eight hours straight and it will seem like 20 minutes. I may begin with a loose vision, but they come out intuitively. It’s an expression coming out of me. I would love to do more surfboards, but they are harder to find than the smaller boards.
I was in the Cuyabeno region of the Amazon jungle when COVID hit. I had no idea what was going on in the world. I came out of the jungle and people were talking about the virus. We finished our trip in the Galapagos Islands and by then the world had started to close. We were almost trapped in Ecuador.
I often travel alone in other countries. I have a fear of being alone, but I also know I am where I am supposed to be. I have a deep appreciation of the synchronistic moments and that keeps me going.”