Five years ago, in my junior year studying Game Design at The College of Amsterdam, Netherlands, I had the opportunity to play American football at Reedley College in California. I did not want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and packed my bags. After my first year, I reached the conclusion that football was not the right career for me and I discovered ceramics.My first ceramics course opened my eyes and made me determined to become an artist.
As a newcomer to the United States, I often question myself as to how I am perceived by others being a non-American white male in a society where the color of my skin gives me privilege. I feel very strange about this. Of course white privilege is present in the Netherlands but not as much as here. As a partner in a committed relationship with an African American woman, I am troubled by the racial discrimination and harsh judgement that we experience when we are together in most parts of the United States. As my partner and I reflect on these difficult experiences together, I have felt helpless and frustrated because we do not know how to solve these problems. The only tool I have at hand is my artwork. Through sculptural form, I am trying to give shape to my feelings and relationship with my partner. An inherent conflict I am trying to resolve is the fact that representing her physicality in my work also means objectifying her as an African American woman, which is something I absolutely do not want to do. I am working on implementing male figures in my work representing myself in order to create sculptural interactions that include and embody my feelings and experiences.