You are a painter. When and how did you start to paint?
I started to paint seriously when I was around 14. My family was going through some really tough times and I could not fall asleep at night because people were crying and yelling and stuff, so I put on music and stayed up all night painting and that’s what got me through everything. And it’s been there for me ever since. But I guess, before that… ever since I grew up, my grandmother was a painter. We would go to her house in England for the whole summer and we painted swords and shields… she kind of inspired me to start thinking about colour.
You grew up in the US and lived in Spain for several years, how much have the different cultures affected you?
I’ve been really lucky to have the privilege to live on two different continents. I came to Spain and I fell in love with the social organizing here, how much people and communities were doing things for themselves. They were creating community gardens, they were building community libraries with their own hands and that was really empowering. But it has also been good to come from the United states which, for good and for worse, doesn’t have this weight of history. The US is this very new place, things move easily and new ideas grow quickly and I think that I brought a level of optimism with me from the US to Spain, and that combined with this practical realism of community organizing here is a nice combination.
When did you first get involved in the climate movement?
Because of being an university student under George Bush and with the Iraq war, I started engaging with antiwar activism. I got invited to go to this direct action in DC called “No war no warming” making that direct connection between a war for oil and climate change. I went without knowing anyone and found myself dressed up as polar bear blockading the doors of congress… and that really helped me understand the politics of the antiwar activism I was doing, how that align with my love of the natural world.