I have been making work about money and my everyday life since I received my MFA from RISD in 1995. I have been concerned with value since then when I began working as a waitress after leaving graduate school and for the following three years. What is my time worth? How much is a dollar really worth? Is $20 worth more to me if I only have $100? I started drawing everything I spent money on as a way to keep track of how much money that I had at any given moment. I was living in an SRO in Manhattan with so little money that I was constantly running out. Making drawings of everything I spent money on helped me keep track of how much money I had, but also helped me feel that I was generating something every time I spent it. When I started showing my work (my first group show was at White Columns in 1998), and found that people were interested in buying it, I realized that I had to devise a plan for how to let the drawings go and still keep something to maintain my records since every drawing was part of a system.
I decided to trace each drawing that was sold and add information on the tracing about who purchased the drawing, how much they paid for it, how much I earned, when they bought it and where. I then mounted the tracings to wood and added them back into the system. At this point, anyone else could purchase the drawing, and so on up to 20th generation.
I was surprised to find that in the gallery world, the price of an artwork is often determined by it's size, relative to the rest of the artists output. I was showing every drawing that I made because they were all part of a system, and therefore, some drawings were better than others. I liked some of the very small drawings much better than some of the much larger drawings, so I decided to make the price part of the work. The price is always written in a circle on the lower right hand corner of the work. In my first exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery in 1998, the prices ranged from $7 (yes! Jack was paying someone to send invoices out for $7.00... I loved him for that!) to $1800. I just felt that some of the drawings were, to be honest, really bad, and some were really good, but they were all part of the system.
I have continued making work about money and my everyday life ever since with twists and turns but always anchored in these core subjects. Now, the work has turned to a concern about our planet, our government, and the suffering of so many people around the world. I have been working on fundraising projects to do my part in trying to solve some of these problems.