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Always an artist at heart, I was raised by general contractors and well trained in the construction field; like my parents, I did construction to pay the bills. One day, about 9 years ago, while I sat at my best friend’s table, she noticed that I was drawing something and asked me what it was. I told her that I was just doodling, that I had been doodling since I was a kid. She looked at the artwork: ”That’s impressive,” she told me ”You should think about expanding it into art.”


I continued to work on my artwork between construction gigs. A few months later, my friend asked me whether I had drawn anything new. I showed her something I had been working on, and right then a thought came to her. She said that she felt that I should hide words in the artwork. When I asked her how she got that idea, she said it was something in the drawing that looked like letters tucked or hidden away in shapes. The hidden shapes reminded her of the times she was trying to hide from her past, the anguish of being victimized by domestic violence, the fear that her perpetrator would emerge, and the shame that followed her choices from the sense of unworthiness, the result of the abuse.


We talked about her hardships, and then out of nowhere, she blurted, “SHIDE A WORDS!” I asked her what that was, and she exclaimed that it was artwork that hides good words such as lovepeaceharmonybeautyjoy, etc., within the art. She explained art is a safe place where good things reside. 


I thought that was a brilliant idea! So, SHIDE A WORDS was born. 


My friend’s stories of struggling with and surviving domestic violence are inspirational to all survivors of abuse, and she inspires me with her love and commitment to finding joy despite hardship. As the business grows, I will donate some of the proceeds to support survivors of domestic violence in honor of my BFF!


She was not comfortable for a while with my sharing this story, but since the birth and growth of my artwork, she too has grown. She is stronger, more courageous, healthier, and more free, which is why I am now sharing this story with others. Love for my BFF inspired me and has improved my heart and my artwork. 


I hope that my artwork inspires you and improves your heart, too!