Deaf Influences

I was born with a severe hearing loss that remained undetected until the age of four. My parents (first generation Armenians) were determined to have both my fraternal twin sister, who was hearing, and me attend the same schools. From an early age, I taught myself to lip read and glean meaning from people’s body language and facial expression as my hearing aids proved limited.

Graduate school began a journey to understand my deafness and to embrace a part of myself I never understood as a viable and alternatively valued way of being. I became fluent in ASL, moved to San Francisco and began a career as a counselor for the deaf, advocate, program developer and finally a licensed Marriage Family Therapist.

I identify as a woman living with hearing loss in a hearing world and one who is a part of the Deaf community. This chance dichotomy tends to make me feel at times a tourist between two very distinct Cultures with it’s own language and customs.

My dependence on eye contact, facial expression and body language make painting the figure and face a stimulating subject. I am curious and at times driven to make sense of a world that for me is fraught with missing pieces. Some of my paintings reflect a reaction thus that is whimsical, quirky, profound and/or inquiring.