Artist using non-recyclable trash and repurposed materials to investigate social and political issues
Kamala Harris — First Black, Asian, and Woman and Vice President of The United States of America
Kamala Divi Harris is the first in many categories: Black woman to be elected district attorney in California history, woman to be California's attorney general, Indian American senator, and Black woman and Asian American vice president of the United States of American. Her motto is "You may be the first, but make sure you're not the last." This artwork measures 29.5 X 20.5 inches.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff
When Kamala Harris was inaugurated as vice president, she was the first woman to hold this position. Similarly, her husband, Doug Emhoff, was the first man to be married to the VP. What was he to be called? Vice Presidents' wives are referred to as the second lady. Thus, Emhoff took the tile of second gentleman. This one-of-a-kind assemblage is a portrait of Emhoff. In keeping with the other "political first" portraits, I made this out of non-recyclable trash and other repurposed materials. It is on canvas and coated with PVA. I completed it in 2022. It measures 18.25 X 18.25 inches.
Lloyd Austin — First Black Secretary of Defense
This portrait titled 'Lloyd Austin - First Black Secretary of Defense' is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. I made this portrait from non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 10 x 8 inches. I created this artwork in 2021.
Deb Haaland — First Indigenous Person to Lead the Department of Agriculture
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. The former New Mexico Representative is the first Native American to lead a Cabinet department and the first to head the federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation's tribes for nearly two centuries. I made this portrait in 2021 of non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 20 x 16 inches.
Xavier Becerra — First Latinx Secretary of Health and Human Services
When nominated as secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra was California's Attorney General. Although he had no medical training, experience, or training in public health, he helped craft the Affordable Care Act. He supports reproductive rights for women. This portrait is made of non-recyclable debris and repurposed objects on a kitchen cabinet door. The materials refer to the elevation of marginalized people formerly considered trash to positions of influence and power. Mr. Becerra is opening doors for other Latinx people. This artwork measures 22.5 X 20.75 inches.
Janet Yellen — First Woman Treasury Secretary
Janet Yellen is the first woman treasury secretary, and she is the first woman to chair the federal reserve. Yellen has been confirmed to various positions by the senate five times. I created this assemblage in 2022. It measures 6 x 6 inches.
Michael S. Regan - First Black Man to Head the Environmental Protection Agency
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. While Michael S. Regan is the first black man to service in this position, he is the second person. He has more than 20 years of experience with environmental advocacy and regulations. As a young man, he became interested in the environment while fishing and hunting with his father and grandfather. I made this portrait in 2021 from non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 10.25 x 8.75 inches.
Avril Haines — First Women Director of National Intelligence
During the Obama Administration, Ms. Haines served as the first woman Deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Never one to fit neatly into traditional women's roles, Haines worked as an auto mechanic while earning her BA in physics at the University of Chicago. I made this portrait in 2021 of non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 10.25 x 8.5 inches.
Brenda Mallory -- First African American to Chair the Council on Environmental Quality
Brenda Mallory was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 14, 2021, and sworn in as the 12th Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She is the first African American to serve in this position. As Chair, she advises the President on environmental and natural resources policies that improve, preserve, and protect public health and the environment for America’s communities. She focuses on addressing the environmental justice, and climate change challenges the nation faces while advancing opportunities for job growth and economic development. Mallory was raised in Waterbury, Connecticut, where she experienced environmental injustice firsthand. I made this portrait in 2021. It measures 10.35 X 8.75 inches.
Cecilia Rouse — First African American to Chair the Council of Economic Advisors
When President Biden nominated Rouse, he called her "one of the most distinguished economists in the country; an expert on labor economics, race, poverty, and education." The Senate voted 95 to 4 to confirm her to lead the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). This portrait honors Rouse for standing up to the discrimination, harassment, exclusion, and hostility women often face in her field. It measures 8.25 X 11.25 inches.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure — First Black Woman Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Med
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is the first Black woman confirmed to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Brooks-LaSure helped build the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and helped convert the law into policy at CMS and its umbrella agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I made this portrait in 2022. It measures 6 X 6 inches.
Cynthia Lummis (R) — First Woman U.S. Senator from Wyoming
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage made from non-recyclable trash on canvas board and an upcycled frame. The artwork measures 10 x 8 inches.
Cori Bush (D-MO) — First Black Woman Elected to Congress from Missouri
In addition to serving Missouri as one of its representatives to congress, Ms. Bush is a nurse, activist, and clergy. I made this artwork in 2021 from non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 20 x 16 inches.
Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) — First Korean American Woman Elected to Congress
In 2020, US voters elected many people from formerly underrepresented groups to local, state, and federal government legislatures. This trend continued in 2021, with the appointments of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people to significant positions within Biden’s administration. This news inspired me to continue to make portraits of politicians — a practice I started in 2016. I made this piece to celebrate that Marilyn Strickland made history. She is the first Korean-American woman to serve in the US House of Representatives. I made this assemblage on canvas, which measures 16 X 12 inches, and placed a replica of a 50000 Korean won note in the upper left corner.
Ritchie Torres (D-NY) — Along with Mondaire Jones, the First Openly Gay Black Man Elected
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. I made this portrait from non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 20 x 16 inches.
Mondaire Jones: Along with Richie Torres is the First Openly Gay Black Members of Congress
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. I made it from non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 15.5 x 12 inches.
Representative Ron Wright (R-TX) -- First US Representative to Die of COVID-19
Rep. Wright was being treated for lung cancer when he contracted the coronavirus. He died after 18 days in the hospital. I made this portrait in 2021 of non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 10.25 x 8.5 inches.
Martin J Jenkins - First Openly Gay California Supreme Court Justice Etsy.jpeg
This portrait of Martin J Jenkins is made from non-recyclable trash and repurposed materials. Elevating trash to create artwork of distinguished people who are the first in their cohort to reach this status reminds us of the importance of all human beings. This applies especially to those previously considered unworthy of such positions. This artwork measures 17.5 X 15 inches. I made it in 2022.
Becca Balint - Vermont's First Woman and First Openly Gay Senate President
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. I made it of non-recyclable trash on canvas board and an upcycled frame. The artwork measures 10 x 8 inches. Windham County, Vermont's voters elected Becca Balint to the state Senate in 2015. In 2021, she was elected Senate president pro tem. She is the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as Vermont Senate President. This portrait is an example of turning trash into a celebration. For many years of Balint's life, and even still by some, being a lesbian was considered an aberration. In 2021, Balint held the highest position in the Vermont Senate. In 2022, she was the first woman from Vermont elected to the US House of Representatives.
Madinah Wilson-Anton - first practicing Muslim elected to Delaware's State Legislature
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. I made this portrait from non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 16.75 X 12 inches. I made this artwork in 2022.
Sarah McBride — 1st Transgender Senator in the Delware General Assembly
This assemblage portrait is made of non-recyclable trash and repurposed materials on an upcycled kitchen cabinet door. The use of trash represents the lifting up of transgender people from being considered worthless to something worthwhile and beautiful. I used the kitchen door to signify how Ms. McBride is opening the door for others like her to follow. I made this artwork in 2022. It measures 20.5 X 14.5 inches.
Kesha Ram — first woman of color and youngest woman in history elected to Vermont State Senate
This portrait is a one-of-a-kind assemblage. I made it out of non-recyclable trash on canvas. The artwork measures 8 x 10 inches.I made this artwork in 2021.
Stephanie Byers (D) — First transgender person of color (Chickasaw) elected to any State
Stephanie Byers is the first transgender person of color elected to any State legislature. She is Chickasaw and serves in Kansas. This assemblage is made of non-recyclable trash and repurposed objects on a kitchen cabinet door. It measures 15.5 X 10.5 inches
Shevrin Jones — First Openly Gay Black Man Elected to the Florida Senate
In 2018, Florida representative Shevrin Jones’s brother Kaniel died. This tragic event led Shev to disclose his homosexuality to the world. He made this politically risky decision while running for the state legislature. Jones won that race in 2018 and was elected as a Democrat to the state Senate in 2020. This portrait on a kitchen cabinet door represents how Mr. Jones has made openings for similar people. I made this artwork in 2022. It measures 22.5 X 20.5 inches.
Joshua Query (D) -- First Openly Gender Non-conforming Person Elected to New Hampshire House
Joshua Query was first elected to the statehouse in New Hampshire (NH) in 2018. In 2020, The voters of NH's Hillsborough — district 16 re-elected Query as the first gender non-conforming representative by only 34 votes. I made this artwork in 2021. It measures 11.25 X 9 inches.