I’ve been creating art ever since I was a child. I spent years under my mother’s piano sketching my father and reading music books. Growing up in my country, art wasn’t considered a necessity, so when it came time for college, my mother pushed me to become a doctor.
When I first started cutting hair, I was averaging about 80 customers a day from my house in Woodside. Back then I was a household name. Everyone was talking about the Filipino kid that opened up a shop at his mom’s basement.
As an architect, I used to design projects in my country, Dominican Republic. I never considered moving to the United States, but one day, I was robbed at gunpoint in my house. Nothing was the same after that. This, and other details, led me to travel all over the US.
I am the primary caregiver for my mom, who has short-term dementia and my brother, who has vision trouble and can’t care for himself. Caring for everyone is in my nature. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but my family needs me.
I’ve been teaching art classes at Queens Community House for roughly 13 years. Working with older adults means a lot to me because I’m getting up in age, myself. I see folks out there that have always wanted to pursue art, but never had the time.
I was a professor of Audiology and Speech Pathology at Brooklyn College for many years. I got my degree at NYU and my doctorate at Columbia University. I was always interested in how people express themselves and how they meet challenges.