I spent 4 years in Athens, but I didn’t attend the University of Georgia that entire time. A couple of years in I lost momentum and decided to give myself a break from school. During this time I lived on Finley Street in an old schoolhouse that had been converted to a duplex. At one point I was sharing the downstairs with the tattoo artist, Mitchell Atkinson. When he moved out, he wanted to take a comfy orange armchair with him. We bartered, and I received a tattoo of a labyrinth, in a Hopi Indian design on my lower back.
I had read that it was a symbol for Mother Earth, and the line traced the path that the soul travels from birth to death to rebirth. Intellectually I knew I wanted a symbol as a tattoo, as I was aware that a symbol would grow in meaning over time. Little did I know just how labyrinths would provide a thread of energy running through my life to tie together seemingly unrelated events, places, and times.
While Mitchell lived with me, he brought home 3 young people whose van had broken down on their trip across America. I became close to E. while she lived with us. She left and went to college in Yellow Springs, Ohio. When I was ready to move on from Finley Street, Yellow Springs is where I went. E. and I networked and found a place for me to stay in Columbus, Ohio, the nearest big city. I owe a debt of gratitude to Aaron, who not only let me crash on his sofa for several months, but also put up with my dog, an unruly puppy with shaky housetraining at that time.
I moved to an apartment on the edge of Upper Arlington; that was located along the Scioto River. In one direction there was a park, but I rarely walked there. The other direction was wilder, an undeveloped tract of land that ran along the river. It was there, a place I called No Man’s Land; that my passion for landscape photography took off.
While I was in Columbus my father sent me a Mac with Photoshop on it, and I took classes at the community college in Multimedia. Thus began my love affair with the computer as a tool for art. When E. and I were in Athens, she found a vintage coat at a clothing store called GO. Go is still in Athens, however, it’s now a bar. When I moved into Aaron’s place, the neighbor upstairs had a sofa in the exact same material as E.’s coat. I photographed Mark’s sofa, and took a trip to Yellow Springs to photograph E. in her coat. The following image resulted:
About two years in No Man’s Land was sold to a developer, and I went for my customary walk with my dog there and instead of trees I found small wood chips. I was devastated.
While that wasn’t the only reason I left Columbus, it was part of it, and I moved back to home in Athens once again.