I’ve loved Florida for a long time—since a childhood visit left me smitten with everything but my aunt’s particularly bellicose pot belly pig, Pork Chop, whom I would have gladly turned into just that—but in recent years my love has grown from the sweet and idyllic affection of childhood into something more domestic and enduring. You could say, what was once the young, blind love of romance blossoming has become the steadfast, familiar love that comes with years of familiarity and the acceptance of flaws, like mosquitos, hurricanes, and the knowledge that every body of water comes with the inherent risk of being eaten.
It is in Florida that, for the first time in my adult life, I found a place in which I knew I could be happy. It is in Florida that, for the first time in my adult life, I’ve found friends, and mentors, and a community in which I feel valuable—I not only seek to take something from them, but I have something to give back, and they’re interested. And, it is in Florida that, for the first time in my adult life, I don’t feel as though I don’t have a place.
It is this happiness and sense of belonging that both communities and individuals have fostered in me that have tempered and strengthened my love for a state so enchanting that at ten-years-old I made a vow to myself that I’d call it home someday—and so it is to those people that I dedicate the poem that will be accompanying my artwork, whether it makes it to a show or not. Thank you for making Florida home.
Though the feet of a wanderer
May often travel far
It is within their heart
That they carry with them home
And it is within their words
On paper and in song
And within their art
Made of timber, clay, and sand
That they share it with the world.
Before I go, I’d like to leave a shout-out to Hourglass Brewing, who not only brews my favorite red ale, the Irish Curse, but also regularly hosts art shows like For The Love of Florida. They, too, had a hand in inspiring this project and are an important part of the community that so readily accepts me for being me.
Don’t forget to find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with all of my daily shenanigans!