I was born in the mountains of Las Vegas, New Mexico and grew up in the south next to the Mexican border in a town called Deming, New Mexico. My mother taught me how to draw at an early age and it always helped relax me. The only way I could concentrate on a lecture in class was to doodle so much on my notebook that I had no room for actual notes! As I got older, I drew less and less. I was too busy doing other things; I converted to Islam in college then moved to Yuma, Arizona to become a contractor testing military equipment at the world’s finest proving ground there.
As a hobby, I learned henna art from the sisters at the masjid. They were from all over the world; Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Russia, Malaysia, China, Nigeria, Sudan, etc., and these women had the best stories! Each culture had its own style of doing henna, and I was eager to learn it all… My co-workers at the proving grounds always encouraged me to continue drawing, but I thought they were just being nice. When I left my career and moved back home, I decided to listen to them and my family and give art another shot.
The culture of my family and surroundings greatly influence my art. I have a passion for everything in my southwest; the bright colors of the desert, the huge skies, the miles-long views, the expectation that comes with so much space, and mostly importantly the food! It’s not always easy living here in the desert, droughts can make for hard living for a lot of the people here, as it has for thousands of years. But everyone has found a way to persevere and have their cultures thrive. They are so colorful and traditional, from the Native Americans, the Hispanics, farmers to cowboys, that I hope I can portray their strong histories.
I love using vibrant acrylic colors in my paintings, and there is always a dash of the henna art to put my stamp on how I view the world around me. People here have taught me that every person in the world goes through hard times, but I hope my paintings can convey the beauty in the harshest of environments, that we can all succeed and thrive against the odds. I hope you enjoy my paintings!