Where are you from originally?
I’m from Buffalo NY although I have lived in Los Angeles and NYC for periods of time which has greatly influenced my work.
What is your medium?
I work in a variety of media, depending on the project. Fiber/fashion/graphic design, & mixed media are my most frequent.
Some of my favorite materials for fiber: I like to use recycled clothing, organic fabrics, vintage fabric and found objects.
How has Buffalo influenced your work?
Buffalo has opened a door to endless possibilities that I don’t think would have been accessible in other large cities. I think it’s a great place for me to start putting myself out there as a teacher and as an artist.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from all over for me, when I’m walking down the street or reading a book and even watching television, but I would have to say that nature inspires me the most.
Is there a purpose to your artwork?
The purpose of my work is to bring joy and laughter to as many people as possible in such a serious world just by hula hooping. I’d like to inspire people to be healthier and have fun doing it. One of my favorite quotes is “Life is far too important to be taken seriously” by Oscar Wilde. It’s on a magnet that was given to me by a friend on my 21st birthday. She doesn’t know it, but it’s kind of been one of my personal mantras since then. Aside from bringing joy to people with my handmade hoops, I try to bring out the beauty, texture and inspiration of nature in my fiber works.
How often do you work on your art?
All of the time! I do a little throughout the week after I get home from work or on the weekends.
What or who first prompted you to venture into the art world?
I’ve always been interested in Art since I was a child, my mom always encouraged me, and after she bought me an easel for Christmas one year I think that was a big turning point for me. In High School, I made a lot of my clothing and sold them on Ebay before I moved to Los Angeles for Fashion Design School. Even then, I didn’t quite know what to do with it or where it was going, but art has always been a constant part of my life.
Have you been schooled in art?
I’ve studied Graphic & Fashion Design and have Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Buffalo State College and still continue to learn everyday.
Where is your favorite venue in Buffalo to exhibit?
I haven’t exhibited anywhere quite yet, but maybe someday I could exhibit at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Where did you learn your craft?
I learned how to make my hoop while living in Los Angeles, but hadn’t put my own spin on it until I moved back to Buffalo a few years ago. I learned how to manipulate fiber at Buffalo State, but my textile & fashion background is from FIDM in Los Angeles.
What book are you reading right now?
I have a huge list I need to get to….but the one that has been on the top for a while is called the Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory
What’s your favorite movie?
I live for Musicals and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the tv show)
What’s your favorite restaurant in Buffalo?
I have far too many! Kunis, 99 Fast Food is pretty high up there, and Vera Pizzeria for their delicious cocktails.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is expressing your true self and having people recognize it.
What’s the worst thing about being an artist?
Being a starving artist! I hope that one day, I can live everyday doing what I love.
I will be performing this summer at the Elmwood Festival of the Arts. I run the Buffalo Hula Hoop Group which is a free community of hoop dancers and hoop fitness enthusiasts, I put together a variety of events for the public to attend to get more people involved. I’m also a NY State certified art teacher and hoopnotica instructor and looking to be getting certified to teach Zumba by the end of this summer and hopefully combining to two!
My performance name is: Tokyo Sunshine and that is also the name brand of my handmade hoop & yoga apparel.
My facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/tokyosunshine
All promo photos have been taken by thinkincolor photography
Support our local artists. Here are a few more Buffalo artists and artisans to brush up on:
Alana Adetola Fajemisin, Sarah and John Cozzemera, Rob Hopkins, Jennifer Seth-Cimini, Elisabeth Strong, Michael Mulley, Patricia Schwimmer, Mikel Doktor, Jerome Greenberg, Elizabeth Leader, Jacqueline Welch, Doreen DeBoth, Joe Cascio, Candace Masters, Iris Kirkwood, Lukia Costello, Michael Morgulis, Julie Leatherbarrow, Chris Liberti, Michael Mararian, Daniel Rodgers, Bruce Adams, Ken Payne, Christina Cooke, Elise Anne Brooks, Frank Cravotta, Jackie Albarella, Gary Melius,Melissa Campbell, Jeff Quigley