Why I paint and create art has been an on-going question that I have striven to concisely answer, but the truth is, my reason for painting is two-fold. I grew up learning that my maternal grandfather, who I unfortunately never met, painted landscapes as a hobby. However, it still baffles me that he found time to paint with eight children running around, this fact means to me that painting was something he felt he had to do, regardless of what was happening around him. Luckily, I was able to connect even more to this part of my ancestry by finishing the last painting he began. He passed away in 1975 and in 2009 I was able to complete his last landscape painting. It hung in my grandmother’s house until she died in 2010 and currently hangs in my parents living room.
Art has been an undercurrent in my family history. On the paternal side of my family both of my grandparents were creative in their innovations and ability. Art in all of its forms keeps me connected to my ancestry and enhances the trust I have in my innate need to create. However, the content in my paintings and artwork has changed throughout the past few years.
I did not study Art in college, I studied Art History. I got my Bachelors degree at SUNY Plattsburgh and graduated in 2014 with a minor in photography and museum studies. For the entire four years of my life in Plattsburgh, I did not paint. I explored photography and I loved it. However, when I reflect on this now, the transition from photography to oil painting while is seemingly drastic, makes sense in my head because my last photography project was about layering. It was a series with intention of depicting daydreams, the places our minds wonder. In order to convey this, I layered three, four, sometimes five images on top of one another in Photoshop. To this day it is one of my absolute favorite series.
Graduation Day, 2014.
Daydream #6, Digital Photograph, 2014
While my exploration of creating art took an entirely different medium. My academic love for art has always been in paintings. Specifically, in Medieval art. I had the opportunity study abroad for a semester at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. This will always be one of my most treasured experiences. Not only did I get to explore England and make wonderful friendships, but I was able to backpack across Europe (literally) for three weeks and fell in love with the beautiful city of Florence.
Il Duomo, Florence, Italy, 2013
My admiration for Medieval Art persisted in my Masters degree at CUNY Hunter in Manhattan. I once again, majored in Art History and specified in the Medieval era. I am fascinated, to this day, in the day to day life, the representation of the spiritual in reality, the ceremonies, religious affiliations, and an understanding of life steeped so deeply in belief. Many believe that the Middle Ages, are the “Dark Ages” where reason, enlightenment, and intelligence were thrown out the window. But, both of my Medieval professors in Plattsburgh and Hunter College stressed that the mathematical, philosophical, and scientific “breakthroughs” that occurred in the Greco-Roman era, still existed, it was a matter of the choice society made to place emphasis on what was truly important. People had the same ability to understand the world and the tools to (for the most part), but a greater emphasis was put on the church, the spiritual, understanding and believing what cannot be explained.
These ideas are growing in my own work. My current abstract paintings have grown persistently out of landscape paintings. The more I wanted to created my surroundings, the more I have realized that I am more interested in the colors the landscapes represent. By stripping my paintings of representation I have begun to embrace the images and emotions I have never been able to convey or explain verbally.
It has been quite a journey so far, I am interested to see whereelse my desire to create will take me.