All sculptural works are grown from an unseeded mycelium.
The Gatekeepers exhibition will open with
The Museum of Infinite Outcomes, Knoxville, TN
A Generous Kingdom:
The use of Art & Science
To inspire the next generation of Gatekeepers
The Gatekeepers project was born out of my firsthand experience living through the Northern California Caldor wildfire in 2021. After the loss, you see how it affects an entire community. I am an artist of solutions. The Gatekeeprs project is a response to what is happening to the world around me. When I work with mycelium, it cleans the air while it dries. Mycelium is plant material, capable of immense contributions. For over ten years, innovations through the use of mycelium have been made in all consumer sectors, including alternatives to leather, food, packaging, and construction. The mycelium material I use is (a substrate made by Ecovative and Grow.bio) as an alternative to toxic resins, oil paints, terpenoids, and various other chemicals. The material I use will decompose if left out in the rain, or it can live forever in inside in cool and stable conditions.
The Gate is slated to stand at 6 feet by 5 feet and will be grown into an archway that acts as a transitional space to a generous and magical kingdom. I call this archway The Gate. Those who choose to protect our wild-lands, wildlife on land, and in water are called gatekeepers. The Gate is being grown out of mycelium, the same substrate that fruits mushrooms. The crown of the gate will be made of foraged materials from the grounds of the Museum of Infinite Outcomes (where this project will open to the public in Spring 2023) and include a woven arch made from kudzu and reishi mushroom. Grown into the sides of each pillar are relief images of keystone species who aid in healthy ecosystems. Visitors will be able to explore these relief images and use their phone to activate sounds and information as augmented reality (AR) brings the gate to life.
Since developing The Gatekeepers project, I have put in 2,000 hours of grow time. I am a quarter of the way finished with the project. Working with living material like mycelium is empowering. Experiencing climate change firsthand creates a shift inside of you. Feeling helpless is an awful feeling, but this is my way of advocating for a healthier world. By creating solutions through my work that will continue to inform on the urgency of continued stewardship. I am contributing to the healing of community and the planet. By embracing the natural world and its generous kingdoms, I have allies. The work I create is meant to serve all humanity, to inspire youth to become the next generation of gatekeepers, and to motivate others to create using healthier materials for a healthier world.
I created this project so that others could feel that sense of wonder and understand that continued sustainability, conservation, and preservation of the natural world must be protected. Bio Art raises awareness of the challenges facing our communities. By sharing my work, I am actively participating in the development of solutions. Inspiring youth to become more deeply involved with their local gardens, museums of conservation and botanical gardens is a great way to initiate the first steps towards stewardship.
The Caldor Fire was a large wildfire that burned 221,835 acres in the Eldorado National Forest and other areas of the Sierra Nevada in El Dorado, Amador, and Alpine County, California, in the United States during the 2021 California wildfire season. I lost several paintings in the fire, but losing my work in a wildfire cannot compare to the loss of a home or watching the effects of climate change. This was the same year I lost my father to complications of Covid-19. When something is taken from us or we lose someone we love, its hard not to feel a sense of emptiness. In my years of Dharma practice I found that healing begins within. Inspired by fire, The Well-Within 22" w x 27"h was grown from unseeded mycelium. It took 23 days, 554 hours to grow. There are 43 bricks, 9 panels, and numerous species of seashells. The project was meant to act as a community project to rebuild together one brick at a time. To paraphrase Charles Darwin's findings in his book On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, it is in community cooperation and compassion that we are able to survive and thrive.
I used mycelium as a method of message. The message is in the materials used to create The Well Within. Using mycelium in construction is a profound way to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. Mycelium is a sustainable resource. An article published on September 6, 2022 by NATGEO details how mushrooms are inspiring engineers to build a better future. In a recent podcast with Mushroom Revival, U.K. biologist Merlin Sheldrake shared that mycelium, which has been with us as a living material for more than 10,000 years, shares 50% of human DNA. Next time you pick up a mushroom from the ground, pause and consider what lies beneath. Keep in mind that the mushroom only represents a tiny part of the larger organism. The mushroom is simply the fruit of mycelium. Mycelium is a vast fungal network that is woven through the soil under every step we take and has held planet together since the beginning of time. All mycelium based projects have been "Grown with Ecovative™ Technology".