My journey painting toys began when I unearthed a forgotten red ninja in 2013. The ninja was carefully removed from the dirt, dusted off, rinsed, placed on a shelf and immortalized in a painting. Thus began my toy-painting journey. Around the time I discovered my ninja I was reading the Little House on the Prairie series with my daughters. Laura Ingalls Wilder spends several chapters throughout the Little House series remembering her beloved “Charlotte” doll. We often forget that toys were once homemade or only for the affluent, and they were cherished. Most of us age out of toys, but a beloved toy can bring back memories of a special birthday or holiday, time spent with friends or siblings and so many other unexpected feelings and emotions.
I also paint toys that I find in my home or those of friends, innocently placed in compromising positions by children, which I then capture in paint. But what do we see when we look at them as adults? Suddenly the toys left innocently by children become a voyeuristic experience causing visceral reactions like shame and discomfort. I hope to push some of these boundaries in my paintings and cause the viewer to pause and think about societal norms, the inspiration, how the piece makes them feel and the shift in perspective.