To me, Nature is God. Without it, we simply would not exist. Conserving the world’s natural spaces and the creatures that live there is paramount to the survival of humans as a species, and I have therefore dedicated my life to studying environmentalism in order to help people co-exist more successfully and sustainably with the natural world.
All natural materials I use in my creations are either sourced from roadkill, Fish and Game, secondhand sources such as fellow artists and estate sales, or are antique. In this way, I'm ensuring that no animals were needlessly killed for the sake of the artwork I produce. I fully believe that no part of any creature should go to waste if a purpose can be found for it, but I do NOT support trophy hunters or overseas fur farms by buying 'byproducts' like bones, skulls, or claws directly from them. The only exception I make for this rule is for parts from animals legally culled for population control programs approved by Fish and Wildlife.
As a photographer and wildlife enthusiast, I've been involved with many fantastic organizations such as Images4Life and Wild Tiger, as well as the Sierra Club and many smaller, local groups.
I've been published, interviewed, and even featured on Rainn Wilson (Dwight from “The Office”)'s personal networking website, SoulPancake.com.
I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to visit many of the world’s most amazing wild places, like Komodo Island, Bali, Lombok, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands, and have even documented entirely new species previously unknown to science.
Other interests include: Wilderness survival, primitive skills, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, boffing, airsoft, snowboarding, meandering around town, and caving.
In high school, I had a really awesome female PE teacher. She was tough as nails and never gave anyone special treatment because of their skills or lack thereof, unlike our male PE teacher, who always favored the athletic guys.
My favorite week in PE was the week that we got to play dodgeball in the wrestling room. The whole room was padded, so we could leap, roll, slide, and drop to the floor if we needed to evade the opposing team’s onslaught without much fear of injury.
There was only one rule: No aiming for the face.
Unfortunately, on the last day of the lesson plan, our teacher allowed us to pick teams. Needless to say, all the athletic boys ended up on one team, and everyone else ended up on another. I could tell that our teacher was annoyed by this, but the guys had been begging her to let them pick teams all week. So she let it slide.
As fate would have it, I ended up on the team opposing the jocks. Despite being very athletic myself, this was not surprising to me - I was good, especially at dodgeball, and because of it, they all passed rumors around that I was lesbian. As if the assumption that, “any girl who is good at sports must be gay” isn’t infuriating enough, what transpired next really got me enraged:
As the game dwindled down, the unfairness of the teams became more apparent. Eventually, I was the only person left on my team, battling against four of the athletic boys who’d initially started the rumors about me.
I dodged, returned fire, got one of the boys out, and caught one of the balls that the remaining guys had thrown at me. But he didn’t walk over to the out-of-bounds zone like the previous guy had. He refused to go out.
Our teacher, noting the discrepancy, stopped the game and told him to get out. But he insisted quite rudely that I hadn’t hit him.
As the argument between the angered student and disgruntled teacher escalated to him literally shouting at her, something struck my face - hard.
One of the other guys, taking advantage of the fact that the teacher was distracted, had hurled one of the rubber PE dodgeballs directly at my head.
Tasting blood in the back of my throat as I tried to regain my vision, which had gone temporarily gray, I shouted, “WHO THREW THAT?!” and saw a friend of mine pointing to one of the ousted guy’s buddies. I had a bloody nose and swollen lip by this point.
My PE teacher instantly whirled away from the boy she’d been arguing with and turned to the boy who’d thrown the ball at my face. She didn’t question him, didn’t shout at him, and didn’t even say his name. She just gave him the darkest, most-threatening look I’d ever seen on a woman’s face before and said, “Go. To the office. NOW.”
He did. But not before saying very loudly to me from across the room, “You’re a cunt!” No one, not even his buddies, laughed at this, as our PE teacher’s anger seemed to fill the whole wrestling room with an air that told each and every one of us that we were all on thin ice; anything could set her off in this instant, and we were going to respect that. Her eyes narrowed at him, and I was surprised to see that he actually looked like he was about to start crying.
Yet it didn’t surprise me when, later that day, I saw the boy who’d hit me in the face with the ball walking casually down the hall. A friend of mine who volunteered as an aid in the office later told me that she’d hear him tell the story to our principal: A very skewed rendition of what happened, as though I were taunting him and - get this - “asking to be hit”.
He wasn’t suspended. As far as I know, no actual reprimand was ever given to him.
But I never was picked on by those guys again, so I guess that was a plus. Perhaps the principal let him off with a warning on the condition that he never heard from them regarding me ever again. I don’t know. Either way, I felt that they still deserved their dues.
So when I became the primary yearbook photographer junior year, I made a point of shooting a wrestling match which those boys were participating in, and only published pictures of them getting beat to shit by the opposing team. Hardly due justice, but it was the least I could do…