"How did you get into henna?"
This is by far the number one question I am asked. I started doing henna (mehndi) in 1996 when a friend returned from Morocco with henna supplies. We were students at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design at the time and I spent hours drawing on willing participants. The process of composing endless variations of patterns out of intricate lines and shapes suited me perfectly. The fact that henna only stains the skin for a few weeks was also appealing, and fit right in with the rest of my time-based, ephemeral artwork.
My connection with henna is also a cultural one. I grew up with a stepfather from India, a mother from Maine, and a biological father from Iraq. I am a blend of culture and my henna reflects this. I am as comfortable spending 4 hours on intricate bridal henna as I am recreating any image someone finds off the internet. I can freestyle patterns or draw anything I am given to look at. I began my design research working on traditional South Asian patterns and then branched out into Arabic, Moroccan, and Gulf motifs, soon finding beautiful patterns in the many cultures of the world- including my own.