What does mixed media mean to you?
In my life and in my art, I like to know what the rules are (as in the traditional forms of painting, drawing, and collage) to give me a stable foundation from which to build. But then I like to go off on my own path, working independently and in a way that I hope is creatively unique. The layered composition of mixed media offers me the flexibility to simultaneously “communicate and conceal the self”, using seemingly disparate materials to construct a work: old photos, text, paint, ink, odd bits of metal.
How long have you been a mixed media artist?
I have been painting for 15 years, but I only came to mixed media about six years ago. A friend was envying that I both wrote and painted. I told her anyone can do art. So she researched and learned how to do mixed media (“glue stuff down”, as she called it). Of course, she outshone me immediately and agreed to show me what she did. I was hooked, when I learned about using vintage photo transfers. I can be a bit nostalgic, and this was a perfect way to incorporate that feeling into my art.
How has art impacted or enhanced your life?
Art has transformed my life, both emotionally and socially. As a poet, I dwell on emotions that may be difficult to transcend. Without a reliance on words, art allows me to capture an experience, but rather than being bogged down by it, I can create something new and hopefully beautiful from it. So, when I am doing art, I am simply a lot happier. Secondly, I am a bit introverted. Doing art shows and interacting with artists whom I admire has helped me become more outgoing and part of a wonderful community.
What are a few of the mixed media supplies you find yourself turning to the most?
Vintage and family b&w photos are springboards for a lot of my art. I’m a “Golden girl”, using acrylic paints and mediums for everything. Also I like punchinella (sequin waste), archival inks, paper ephemera, and metal embellishments. Recently, I’ve been having fun with my Gelli Arts printing plate and various black pens and pencils.
Who are some of your favorite mixed media artists?
Alphabetically, some of my fave MM artists are Traci Bautista, Ania Dabrowska, Jane Davies, Melissa Fair, Michele Lynch, Annie Waldrop, and Lynn Whipple.
Tell us about your creative process.
I look for connections, revelations, and bits that seem to fit together or spin off each other, as I gather what I will put on the canvas. I usually start with a specific thematic b&w image or motif piece and work to support that with an interesting background and/or embellishing. I’m somewhat of a decorator in that way, wanting to match bits of color or to set off significant text by framing it with the face in a photo transfer. I often lay out parts over a background and move them around till the composition feels balanced, before I start adhering the pieces to the canvas. I will, though, incorporate (rather than “clean up”) “happy accidents” that occur as I work. I’m a planner, but I also try to stay open to listening to the work as it develops.
What makes your mixed-media art unique?
As a writer first and then artist, I often have a story of the human experience whispering in my mind as I create my art. My pieces tend to be simultaneously dramatic and nuanced. There are bold colors, but also subtle details which add to the piece. These are often set in contrast to the b&w photos and text I also incorporate. Though I am a realist and not an abstractionist, there is a certain amount of ambiguous tension in my work, which I hope makes people dig for the universal truths under the surface of beauty.
Where can we find you?