For the past few years I have been consulting with the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan and use this resource to inform my work. While attention is finally being paid to victims of international trafficking, their exploited American counterparts are often criminalized for their victimization. Working with the clinic was a galvanizing force in my life, and has emboldened me to utilize my creative ability to visually depict the scenarios I encountered.
Children in the sex trade make up a substantial percentage of human trafficking victims. They exist in America, just as they do in other countries, and they can often be found in our own communities. Even more unsettling is the fact that these children are often incarcerated on charges for prostitution, and the johns and pimps who exploit them encounter little consequence. I am particularly frustrated by this aspect of the prison industrial complex, and am motivated to make work about it.
I draw much of my inspiration from graphic novels and illustration. I am interested in how these mediums are usually classified as falling outside the boundary of fine art. On the contrary, I feel that there is a place for such work within this establishment. By removing the drawing aesthetic from its original context, and expanding it to a larger scale, I invite the viewer to consider the capacity of illustrative work.