As a scratchy Janis Joplin piped through the house, her mother recognized something slightly left of boredom the day she came home to discover Stefany had dismantled an entire ceiling fan to return it completely consumed by hand-painted images. Not only was the furniture precisely rearranged to allow the outline of her body to lie directly below, she had dusted off the old record player and set it up on a crate not quite indigenous to the home.
As an only child with unrestrained energy, Stefany's mom was constantly negotiating ways in which to keep her little one entertained. She hurled sporting goods, musical instruments, colored pencils, pastels, and paints in every direction. There was nothing Stefany didn't find amusing about a pipe cleaner or Popsicle stick, and felt a papier-mâché mock-up or beauty school dummy head was the most dramatic way to present the protagonist in a book report for the tomes she would only sometimes read.
As she faked her way through piano lessons and used her 'Muppets' drum set as a step stool to heave herself onto the pull-up bar installed in the doorway, she swiftly departed from the field of music after sinking her foot through the bass drum. Though music never quite stuck, she will occasionally launch into a set of conga drums, but will never subject anyone to the sounds that make even her own dogs dismiss the room.
Her mother is most affectionately pleased that the Deco-Page phase was but a fleeting one, ending only moments before Stefany felt the dining room table would look better covered in match books, concert tickets, and foreign currency. Once old enough to hold a hot glue gun and rewind the extension cord correctly, no objects were off limits, later leading to her bedazzlement of cow skulls. And there was no form of life unavailable for pink feathers and glitter either, a chapter that dominated her college years.
Encouraged by her mother to be expressive, there was always a strong persuasion to tether the right brain to the left. She studied Advertising and English at Florida State University, but found herself getting into Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate. Bored to tears designing Data Centers, she left to consult and later renovate residential homes. After eight combined years of sawdust and mold spores, there was little motivation to continue her lead-based paint and asbestos future.
Repeatedly asked by friends to "paint me something" as guests would enter her home, she was suddenly encouraged by a dear friend to make art an essential part of her daily life. Stefany's influences vary. She studied Art History in high school and still clutches her note cards produced to once study for tests that she will never bring herself to purge. She clung to the vivid colors of Matisse, the meaning of Frida Kahlo, and the depth of Caravaggio, though she is most influenced by those who surround her personally.
Stefany greatly salutes the endless support her mother has undoubtedly distributed over the years; her high school Spanish teacher Patricia Zdravkovich, who not only belted out "Estefania, a la veranda!" for chatting too much in class, but for making Art a dynamic part of the curriculum; and Barbara Hamby, her college poetry professor who constantly ended her critiques with "Tighten!" And she was never quite sure if that meant her words, her grip, or her bra strap.
And can't you tell... she's writing this in the third person?!