I grew up in both Texas and Arizona, and spent countless hours at the pool. My tenth birthday party was at Aquarena Springs, a natural spring and nature education center in San Marcos, Texas. It was understated, weird, but so very me. I’ve always been fascinated, not scared of water. Many of my dreams take place underwater.

When I was in high school, I tried out for the swim team. Twice. I didn’t make it both times, which further complicated my relationship with water. Swim team was a traumatizing experience with strange characters, unattainable achievements, and prevailing white supremacy. Ever notice that the most well known stereotypes against people of color are that they can’t swim… or that they swam here? Besides that, it is not an equitable sport by any means. I didn’t swim competitively anymore after that.

At age 27, I joined a masters swim team in San Jose. It had been more than ten years since I swam with others. It took a lot to break down all the shame from not feeling “good enough” in the water. And last summer, Casey took me scuba diving for the very first time off the coast of Grenada. We went through an underwater sculpture garden and explored coral forests. It was unforgettable.

Water is simultaneously a home and not. With these paintings I explore the beauty of the ocean, but in my imagination, I explore the vastness of resolved feelings. With the subject’s back to the viewer, they’re invited to follow along.