Why I Give...
10% of all my sales goes to charitable contributions. Most of it directed at teen depression.
When I Was A Young Kid...
I felt like i didn't really belong to any group. I grabbed a camera and was able to befriend people in ALL the groups as I pleased. I was the kid with the camera.
As I Started to Grow Up...
I realized I felt like I didn't really belong on this planet at all. I thought all the symptoms of depression were just me being, "a loser", "too smart", "unmotivated", "a bad person", and so on. I stayed behind the camera in order to deal with the world as a detached entity. I was fascinated with what "living life" looked like and captured it in my images.
In College (the turning point)...
I studied photography and communications for my degree. However, I learned about myself. I learned that I was one of the lucky ones to survive some of the things I felt. I had several friends who were just like me and later acted on their feelings and it hit home. I started creating images that focused on emotions and the story of struggle - they connected with people.
I exhibited some of my more "artsy" images ( I did lots of journalism and fashion) at well known gallery in Miami. At the opening night party, I was with my piece when a well-to-do family with a teen girl stopped by. They commented politely on the piece, but then the girl broke down crying. She said my "final straw" piece was "her" and was exactly how she felt. Her parents were shocked, upset, and they all immediately left. I was upset too and didn't know what to think - what did I do?
About 3 months later, the family contacted me after getting my information from the gallery. The girl had planned to kill herself that night with pills she had stolen and it was only because her breakdown started an argument that her parents found out. She was now in therapy, on medication and was "a changed and wonderful person". .. and yes, they did want that print. I gifted it to them and delivered it personally.
The hug i received from giving her that print will never, ever, allow me to put down my camera until I am no longer on this earth.
This is why I can't stop making art... This is why I give back.
I want to help our teen youth who are struggling with depression, gender identity, serious illness, abuse and stress from a multitude of directions.
Why teens? Because babies and little kids are cute and easy for fundraisers to get cash for. Teens are complicated, brilliant in their own ways, vocal and can be pissed off. However, they need someone to speak for them too and support them so that they can make it into adulthood in one piece.
Help me help make sure your future neighbors, doctors and politicians turn out just fine... hell, let's just help make sure they survive to choose their adult path.