When it comes to the holidays, there’s nothing I believe in more than this: If you’re going to give a gift, make it matter. Gifts should inspire and give someone an experience…whether it be a non-monetary gift or a purchased present that continues to give well after it’s been unwrapped. I was once given a gift when I was little that helped me begin my journey as an artist, long before I even knew I was on that journey.

HP has been an incredible partner this holiday season, challenging me to
#ReinventGiving. I spent some time thinking about a gift I could give back to the
community in a creative way naturally! Something that may seem small, but has the
possibility to touch someone beyond the moment of giving. After some research, I found out that the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City brings in visiting artists to do workshops for their Inclusive Art Program comprising of children with special needs or disabilities. Most of the children need 1:1 assistance. Art is such a powerful tool, and to share my visions with these children and hope to inspire their imaginations felt like the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

I worked with HP’s new Spectre x360 to come up with workshop ideas… something
simple, as the children had very limited mobility, but something imaginative and fun. I landed somewhere in outer space and had them create things or creatures that would float in space! They all begin with the same shape (a circle) so that we could see each individual imagination at play. What I loved most about working with these children is that I didn’t see any of them worrying or looking to see what the other children were doing. They were simply focused on bringing what was in their minds to life.

I painted backdrops filled with stars that I then scanned into the Spectre x360. I added some details with the device’s on-screen inking capabilities (like shooting stars, etc!). These were the constellations that the kid’s creatures would live in. Once the children finished their ‘space things’ we photographed them one by one to create a stop motion (which the kids were well versed in!). We ran out of time during the workshop, but I worked to create an animated stop-motion for them in post on the device. Moving each creation bit by bit until it was a looping video.

It was one small workshop, but I can only hope that the time we spent making art
together inspired these children in some way! Thanks HP for inspiring me to do this!

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There are gifts we get in our lives that we aren’t aware are gifts at all. Small moments of wonder that go unnoticed for years, and then one day when we stop and connect the dots, we see how that one thing changed our world. This holiday season I’ve teamed up with HP and the new Spectre x360 to share how one unexpected gift changed my world and now it’s my turn to give back…

When I first began my life as an artist, my family gifted me my first set of paints as a little girl. Just a simple set of colors and a paintbrush helped me open my eyes and look at the world a little bit differently. I began searching for things to paint obsessively, which in turn made me rethink the most ordinary things. Twisting and turning the ordinary into something new and impossible with my imagination. Over time, that set of paints would continue to influence and inspire my life and eventually become my career. Looking back it’s easy to see, but in the moment I had no idea it would lead me here. It was something that already existed inside of me, but that one gift gave me the chance to discover what was within.

What I love most about art is that the mentality of it is to open your eyes and find the unexpected wonder in your life – to look at the world through your own lens. To find the beauty, the darkness, or whatever you are searching for and to tell that story through your medium of choice. I have always felt a strong connection to working with my hands… through paint and drawing and sculpture. I love the motion of working with my hands!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the beginnings of my creativity these days. I feel a shift coming on, and I think it’s important to look back and see where it all began. Even as a kid, your intuition knows so much more about what your art can become – much sooner than you’ll ever figure it out yourself.

Things have changed A LOT since I was finger painting in 1985. To be honest, I mostly resisted digital drawing a few years back because I love the ‘paint to paper’ feeling so much – but over the years I’ve played with it here and there and have grown to love it for different reasons. I realized it’s not there to replace paper, it has it’s own separate purpose. Lately, I’ve been playing with the HP Spectre x360, and love it. First off, the battery life is insane… in the best way. Secondly, I love that drawing is built into the device 100% with the Ink Workspace. You can draw on any image, your desktop, a blank canvas, create animations, etc etc etc! It brings you back to that fresh creative feeling like when you’re a kid… there are so many things to play with! These are the gifts and tools that reopen your imagination! Never be afraid to play.

Before I drew dancers… I danced! (Image of me and my mom below)

I’m partnering with HP to give back to the creative community, especially those with disadvantages. I’ve put together a workshop using the Spectre x360 at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City for children with physical disabilities to help open their imaginations to out of this world possibilities! I was so impressed to learn these children already had experience with animation, so we’re going to create a short animated gif together and I can’t wait to share what their imaginations come up with! I’m creating some backdrops for them on the Spectre x360 to use behind their animated gifs, and we’ll photograph and gif images on the device as well. I feel like modern technology is such an incredible gift these days… opening a whole world for someone with one small device, just like my paint set did for me. I truly believe that life is how you think and look at it in the good and bad moments. Art has helped me see that and made so many things possible in my life. I hope to help give others the gift of seeing things differently… just like someone did for me.

#ReinventGiving

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