I was approached by Target at the end of 2020 to see if I was interested in a new program they were partnering with the U.S. Soccer Foundation for. They were creating mini pitches for playfields for schoolyards all over the nation and were asking local artists to create designs for them. They were interested in seeing if I wanted to design one for 2 schools in Yakima, Washington. They had no idea I used to live in the area and it felt like the universe was calling and I had to pick up! Here was my chance to bring my art to a place I often dream about so I happily accepted.
Although I was born in Seattle Washington, our dad moved us to a small town outside of Yakima called Granger. And then we lived in an even smaller area called Crewport. Granger is known for these old dinosaurs statues that welcome you when you drive into town. There, we grew up a cross the street from a berry patch, a bunch of burned down buildings that ravaged the area, dairy farms and fields, lots and lots of open fields. Since my dad was a farmworker, I have memories of bringing him lunch with my mom. Driving home on the highways, I remember the hills always reminded me of sleeping dinosaurs. We would in the summer catch tadpoles and frogs in the ponds and in the winter hide from the snow and eat atole to keep warm. We were wild and free and I think this freedom to roam is what motivated me to move so freely in the city when we later moved back to Seattle. The explorer in me always wants to seek new experiences and learn of new places especially now where my playscape is international.
I wanted to share all these precious memories. My artist brain connected the soccer pattern of the ball as scales in the hills. Kind of reminiscent of a dinosaur or dragon. I came up with a few drafts in more of an abstract direction pictured above. My work is always color centered so I need to feel grounded in a palette before I can really start the work of designing. I wanted to tie in the richness of the land and the things that grow so well.
The second draft was more literal. I honed in on the idea of the mountains and hills being alive. I added more color and really used the colors of the landscape to my advantage. The greens of the fields, the blues of the endless skies, and the yellows of the earth. I sometimes miss this area so much. Check out the comparison and some of the painting process below.
In September of 2021 I was traveling to Walla Walla to give a lecture and I was able to stop and see these installed. Being able to see this in person was emotional, like being able to gift something to a place that shaped so much of my imagination. I also took advantage of being in my old neighborhood and went to see my old home, the dairy where I first had fresh milk, and of course the old dinosaur statues.
Finally, all the artists were asked to create small videos of us explaining our designs. Obviously mine is hilariously awkward. I became an artist so I wouldn’t have to talk so much. Now I find myself talking a lot, about myself, my art. Who knew?
You may learn more about this project here: https://ussoccerfoundation.org/programs/target-mini-pitches/
Seattle born Artist, Muralist, & Community Engager