Tag Archives: walt whitman birthplace

The Constant Creative Flow of Jennifer Jimenez

By Erin Corrigan

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“Allyx”

There is something to be said about a person who has discovered a sense of tranquility and stimulation through the process of authentic craft-making with their own, bare hands. Jennifer Jimenez, a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, is living proof of the endless possibilities intertwined with the notion of being an artist.

Jennifer received a bachelors degree in Art and Art History and Criticism, which is what she chose to double major in while attending her years at SB. Jennifer is someone who walks through life with an open and eager mind. She says she enjoys expanding her knowledge regarding other artists, whether their talents be prolific in the past, or in the present; whichever way their mark is made, she doesn’t discriminate. She hopes to one day be a successful, professional artist herself and is more than willing to put her hand to the test.

Jennifer dabbles in an array of creative outlets, which certainly helps with keeping her eye sharp and her hand steady. For instance, you can find bona fide handmade pieces by Miss. Jimenez in many different forms. She perfects her craft in everything from drawing, painting and printmaking, to sewing, crocheting and jewelry-making. Needless to say, she finds it absolutely necessary to keep a consistent flow of projects moving day by day. This is what keeps her creativity beating with a steady pulse.

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“Beatris”

Although Jennifer is currently a proactive member of the art community, she did not always feel like it was possible to pursue the study of art and obtain a successful career. Just when she was sure that following such a dream would leave her unsupported and unrecognized, she won an art achievement award at her community college. This was just the push she needed to realize the talent that extended far beyond her fingertips. Soon after, Jennifer made a bold move and refined the title of her major; allowing her to pursue the study of fine arts as a visual artist.

Come support the local artists’ of your community Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace for the SPARKBOOM kickoff event, “Beards, Bards and BOOM” from 7-10 PM. Click here to RSVP. Jennifer Jimenez will have her beautifully constructed paintings on display and you can meet the creator herself! For more information about Jennifer Jimenez and her awesome arts and crafts, visit Jennifer Jimenez Art.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_1801Erin Corrigan is an aspiring writer with an open mind. She believes that music, art and poetry are the essential nutrients for every soul. Giving a voice to the budding faces of the literary and fine arts community is what she’s here to accomplish!

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Jin-kang Park – Artist, Day-Dreamer, Visualizer

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©2014 Barry Rosenthal

By Caitlyn Shea

Jin-kang Park’s conceptual artworks are infused with a sense of longing and missed connections.  Growing up in South Korea, where many families are separated by war, Park moved to the United States to pursue an arts education.  This redefined her self-identity and it had a powerful impact on her work. She describes: “When I first came here, I worked based on my memories and thoughts about the different social roles I had assumed in my life (daughter, artist, citizen etc). I never experienced a major disaster so far, but it’s the smaller moments of my life among people, observing them or even walking on the street, that have been influencing my work.”

Park works across many different mediums including interactive installations andjinkangpark02 performance.  Her entire body of work takes on a delicate, ephemeral quality.  The presence of the artist is felt in her manipulation of materials; however there is a strong role of chance and unexpected results.  When viewing her installations, one is left with the impression that her works could be disrupted or changed easily by outside forces, which is something that she embraces.

Park’s ideas always come to her before the materials she chooses to use.  She has studied the basics of electronics, dance and even magic.  For the last 6 years she has been captivated by yarn and fabric, so she is currently learning to use a loom.  In her blog, she embraces artists across many different mediums, including painting.  It delights her to find any artist that is passionate and “crazy about something.”  Her inspiration also comes from day-dreaming.  She says:

“I love spending time doing nothing. The time I lie still, visualizing what I want to make is pivotal. Drawing, which is the next step, helps me to clarify the details of the project. Then, I am finally ready to build the work.”

Park walks us through her approach to the individual installation she produced for the SPARKBOOM Beards, Bards, and BOOM event:

“The land always tries to go back to nature. No matter what you build, it will be corroded and assimilated into nature over time. When I was invited to exhibit at Walt Whitman Birth Place, inspired by Walt Whitman’s poems, I wanted to make something harmonious with nature. I found the perfect place for my project behind his statue. It is a hidden space full of weeds surrounded by three trees. When I was standing there, I felt the warm sunlight through the tree leaves and it put me in a contemplative mood. I made a structure with metal bars and tied it with green threads repeatedly. From afar, my work looks like some object that changes its colors to blend in with the surroundings and camouflage itself. “

-VIDEO EXCLUSIVE-

See Jin Kang-Park’s new piece during SPARKBOOM‘s KICKOFF event,  “Beards, Bards, and BOOM””, at The Walt Whitman Birthplace on Saturday, June 21st from 7-10PM. RSVP here. Visit her website at jinkangpark.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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Eric Araujo and his “House Project”

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Credit: Terry Carroll

By Caitlyn Shea

Eric Araujo is a meticulous craftsman that bridges the gap between utilitarian objects and conceptual art.  His drawings of the human body read like anatomy textbooks overlaid with practical mechanical renderings.  He seamlessly brings his attention to detail into 3-D works as well.  In his ongoing series House Project, Araujo salvages discarded materials in order to build impermanent housing structures for homeless people.  Beyond a major act of kindness, these houses mimic the pre-existing houses in the neighborhoods they are placed in and make a powerful statement about the unspoken rift amongst the area’s “haves” and “have-nots.”

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Credit: Terry Carroll

In the eyes of homeless people and neighborhood residents, Araujo’s houses must seem to appear and then disappear out of thin air.   The artist does not usually have any interaction with the fortunate receivers of the homes or nearby homeowners as he drops his handmade structures off in the darkness of night.  He does recall his first drop off in San Francisco and the suspicious feedback he received from a man named Wallace that had been living on the street.  “He thought I would harm him, like set it on fire! It was shocking as I never considered that as a possible reaction. Ultimately it resulted in his exuberant gratitude remarking;

‘This is the first time I’ve owned a house in all my life. THANK YOU!'”

ConductorAt first glance, Araujo’s human body renderings and houses may seem unrelated; however they speak to the inner-workings of pinnacle human structures.  He explains, “Whether it’s a house or the human body they’re both utilitarian and both impermanent.  They both require maintenance for longevity and a sound skeletal structure to exist well.”  He also notes that our possessions define us the same way that our bodies do. Our objects act “as prosthetics and extensions of our bodies and one could consider our human relationships as reflections of ourselves.”

It comes as no surprise that Araujo works tirelessly in his studios on multiple projects at the same time…

“These days my studio practice is divided between my apartment where I draw and a separate wood shop where I can use power tools and make a mess to build things.  It becomes a practice of time management and patience . . . Making things is like exercising a muscle, just a little bit helps keep muscle memory.  Before I know it I’ve got a body of work.”

During SPARKBOOM‘s2009-0917-113520 kickoff event, viewers will have the opportunity to see and engage with a house boat called “Debbie Sue” first hand.  It speaks to the human need for refuge, especially in the wake of natural disasters such as Sandy and Katrina. Join us at Walt Whitman’s Birthplace for Beards, Bards, and BOOM on June 21st from 7-11PM to explore “Debbie Sue” before it sets sail! RSVP here.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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Chatham: The Marrying of Poetry and Philosophy

By Steven T. Licardi

cid-437Chatham is a diamond-in-the-rough kind of poet. Our acquaintance began like any other evening at The Muse Exchange, a local open mic at the Velvet Lounge in East Setauket. Chatham performed an erotic piece that was, in complete sincerity, incredible. I had to know who this fresh, talented stranger-poet was. I approached her and was surprised to discover she was a graduate student at Stony Brook University who, like myself, studied Philosophy. Instantly, we began engaging in discourse, discussion, and all things poetic. When the time came to choose the poets to appear at the SPARKBOOM event, I knew instantly that I wanted her to be a part of the line up. She will challenge the way you see things.

Chatham, a rather mysterious creature, is just as passionate about poetry as she is about philosophy. I wanted to know more about how she first got interested in poetry. “I grew up the youngest of three siblings by a strong distance of years,” she said, “and word-working quelled the alienation I felt from the extent to which I lagged behind my older sisters in age.” Also like myself, Poe was one of her first great inspirations.

“It wasn’t until my third grade teacher (Mrs. Whitt) read us Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ that poetry took off for me. Poe was my first great love, and my family still teases me to this day by saying that my ideal mate will be a tall, lanky individual with dark hair and an intelligent, subtle sadness. I think they’re right.”

(My personal favorite is “The Bells,” but I digress).

Chatham’s philosophical background is evident from the opening lines of her pieces. This became only more apparent when I began to discuss her style. “I speak/read hyperbolically and intensely most of the time – I hinge on certain words, I live in them, I repeat them until I don’t want to hear them again for years. I fall in love with sentences (my own or from others) and I inscribe them as facets of my own personal mythology.” she reiterated on the relationship between poetry and the day to day grind.

“I think there’s a performance that underlies every moment in our lives, and rather than being a barricade guarding who we are or the ‘authentic,’ it’s the very condition for the possibility of authenticity or an ‘I’ at all.”

Indeed, in many of our interactions, we inevitably begin to engage in intense discussions of the nature of things, especially (big B) Being, the mark of Heidegger. “My style, whatever it may be, is the effect of both indulging in and struggling with this sentiment – that both on-stage and off, the performative can’t be escaped.”

I wanted to know what kinds of things compel her to write. As with most poets, her answer was multifaceted:

“Be it a fleeting look from across the room, Virginia Woolf’s ability to capture the complexity of a character, Audre Lorde’s unforgiving sensuality, Poe’s morbidity, my favorite memories with my father as a child, Kendrick Lamar’s verses, the tinge of Ani Difranco that stains my car speakers because we cried together so many times by way of them, a random act of kindness (or an act of cruelty), and on, and on…”

When I asked Chatham what she finds herself writing about most, we again found ourselves on a hermeneutic tangent. “Somebody once told me that philosophy is compensatory, and I believe this applies to all writing. I think the self is the biggest enigma, the inexhaustible secret, the other within myself – the question whose answer I can’t capture and therefore the thing my writing can’t let go of.” Poetry, I have often said, is the purest form of understanding – the ability, through use of precognitive language, to bequeath another person with an experience (emotionally, consciously, and spiritually). “Everything I write is an attempt to illuminate what can never wholly be illuminated,” she said, “and that’s what keeps me coming back. But that’s where the good stuff happens – failed attempts at totalizing yourself – because the immensity of what can be said is inexhaustible.”

Aside from her philosophical aspirations, I wanted to know the thing that compels her to write and perform. “Well, there’s alienation from other people and a disjunctive within myself for which writing has been the only remedy,” she revealed.

“But maybe, more importantly, poetry affects people, and it does so in ways that you can’t pre-meditate. Novelty is built into the reception of a written piece, and it is a novelty of feeling something together that isn’t necessarily (and can’t be) the same for each person.”

She further elaborated on this shared experience of poetry: “There’s an ethical implication to all of this that’s really beautiful, and it’s that non-reducible difference that has the capacity to unite people just by virtue of experiencing it together. I guess that I hope that one day some of the things I write will be able to invoke something for someone, as I know that I am continually invoked by the performative display of others.” As for what she hopes to accomplish, she added: “I just want to feel something. I want to make others feel something. That’s enough. Actually, that’s the most powerful thing of all.”

Much of Chatham’s work speaks of deep-seeded sensuality, forthright yearning, affection, and, above all, a need for connection. This became evident when I asked her to quote a bit of her own poetry. She offered:

“Graciously, upon the bone of my breast / I place the feeling of your gaze / where I can keep it best / where the weight is a burden I hold only for my breath, / a quiet masochism I carry while so immured in your depth / better left unspoken, unactualized, unaddressed / tediously, upon the bone of my breast.”

Her naked words are a metaphor for the nudity of her spirit.

Chatham’s academic and poetic work both inspire me equally and immensely. Her passion for the advancement of human intellectual thought and, further, her want of human connection comes through in the delicateness of her poetry and the trailblazing of her prose. Her work will most certainly help to frame the continuance of mankind’s relationship with itself. Expect your horizon to be broadened. Perhaps a few more colors will be added to your dawn.

Hear her words personally, in-person at SPARKBOOM‘s “Beards, Bards and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace (Click HERE to RSVP).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Steven T. Licardi (The Sven-Bo!) is the author of “Death By Active Movement” (Local Gems Press, 2013) and is a spoken word poet, actor, artist, and public speaker from West Islip, NY. Steven uses his many projects to raise awareness of social issues, for advocacy, and as a means to educate others to be compassionate. He hosts as blog called “Cross My Heart And Hope To Write” that explores the relationship between love, beauty, and the human condition. Find out where he will be performing next at TheSvenBo.com.

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Bill Shillalies – Working with the Elements of Nature

By Caitlyn Shea

billAs a student at Adelphi University I knew Bill Shillalies as an almost permanent fixture in the ceramics studio. He would be teaching, assisting students that were struggling to make their pottery stand up straight, or watching over the huge Anagama kiln. I could never fit his class into my schedule but every time I would be hollowing out a sculpture or standing over buckets of glaze with a worried look, he would appear as if by magic and give me practical guidance so that I could come to a good decision on my own.

I vividly remember seeing a new sculpture hanging in the studio one day. bill3In structure it resembled an iconic beehive. It was a larger piece and many students took a break from their work to crowd around it. Upon closer examination, the surface had a rough organic white texture floating and obscuring the view of a deep dense blue shine. Immediately it took on the enormity of constellations in the night sky, yet still made one contemplate organic and earthly form.  It was unmistakably Bill’s signature aesthetic.

Bill5Conjuring elements of nature, Bill is influenced heavily by his time spent outdoors hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and being near lakes and beaches. He says that he is fascinated by seeing his outdoor works relate with their surroundings. He states “Every time I put them down on the ground it is different, I like to see them change with the seasons.” Elements like snow, dew drops, and rain play with the surface of his sculptures in their respective environments. His wall hangings and pottery also brings a sense of the outdoors to the indoors.

Bill takes pleasure in the surprise elements of sculpture. “I enjoy the things that I have no control over.  Sometimes it hurts and I have to do it over again, but then I might get it to where it makes me smile.” He is most easily defined by his passion for making new work and for his delight in being surrounded by excited sculptors at Adelphi University and Nassau County Community College.

When I asked him where his passion came from he answered:

“Passion is the key word! I was doing very poorly in school because I could not read well or spell. Teachers just did not understand me and wrote me off. I met a teacher whom realized I had dyslexia and another that suggested I major in Ceramics. My life changed and I have been making art every day to keep my hands moving. Lucky me, I love teaching, so my life is whole!”

During SPARKBOOM‘s Kickoff event, “Beards, Bards and BOOM”, Bill Shillalies will have two sculptures in the Walt Whitman Birthplace garden. He has left them untitled and open to the viewer’s own interpretation.  Check it out on June 21st! Click here to RSVP.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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“Tom Moran Is The Greatest Songwriter You Have Never Heard Of”

1533899_577664818986559_427609960_n“I think it is a great gift in life to have a passion. I’m so happy that I know what I want. It’s amazing to know exactly what brings me joy in life.”

…This is what Tom Moran told me when asked if he had ever wanted to quit music, and what kept him going. People always tell us to follow our dreams, but so many of us cannot follow our dreams, because we have no idea what they are. Tom knows exactly what he wants, and how to go about it.

Tom Moran is the greatest songwriter you have never heard of. Born and raised on Long Island, he studied at Nassau Community College’s Studio Tech program before shipping off to New York City to start his music career. It’s a story that’s not unfamiliar to a lot of us artistic types. For all of us, who are at different phases in our artistic journeys, it was interesting for me to get to talk to someone who was really mired in “the struggle.” I have been on this path for a few years, but am still really in the early stages. Tom has been at it for much longer, and is in that “darkest before the dawn” stage. Tom has been involved in multiple projects and bands; he payed his dues on the Brooklyn scene, and is back on Long Island. His story is a long one, but for the sake of time, after all of that, he has gotten his band back together.

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Tom Moran Band

The Tom Moran Band, works as a vehicle to showcase Moran’s music. While nobody can take anything away from his guitar playing, or singing, he started out as a songwriter first, and in some ways, maintains that. When listening, one can surmise that he was heavily influenced by the music of a bygone era. He recounts listening to music his parents played, and wanting so badly to create something like that. His music has the sounds of Bob Dylan, and some of The Beatles’ simpler stuff, but focused through the modern lens of the “indie” sound, with a good heaping of folk attitude. There are some interesting things going on in his recordings, which I can only attribute to his schooling in the studio – the faint sounds of a glockenspiel, the multitasked guitars, and I think I can detect….vibes, or maybe a rhodes in the back somewhere in some of his tunes. While I don’t always have the greatest amount of appreciation for the ‘singer-songwriter’ I will say that Tom knows what he’s doing…which is more than I can say for a lot of these guitar-toting, poetry-spouting sillies walking around. I apologize; my inner conservatory music snob came out. Anyway, If I am at the beginning of my journey, Tom is at the part just before he gets discovered. Just remember, you saw it here first kids.

The Tom Moran Band will  be performing at SPARKBOOM‘s 2014 KICKOFF EVENT – “Beards, Bards and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st, at The Walt Whitman Birthplace. For more info, visit sparkboom.org. RSVP to our FB event here.

Visit Tom at Visit Tom at tommoranmusic.com and his Facebook page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MImageoe Tompkins, a native of Islip, New York, holds a double degree in jazz studies and music education from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Upon acceptance to the College-Conservatory of Music he began simultaneous study both with Ray Charles Orchestra alumnus Marc Fields, and Tim Anderson of the Dayton Philharmonic. For several years he worked as a highly-in-demand trombonist on the Cincinnati scene and beyond playing everything from salsa, to reggae, neo-brass band sharing the stage with the likes of Streetlight Manifesto, The Aggrolites, and Foxy Shazam, just to name a few. He currently resides in Islip, working with the Long Island Arts Alliance and finally pursuing his own musical vision with his original group Slang (facebook.com/slangthebandli). When not making music, Moe can typically be found enjoying horror movies, fusion jazz, or White Castle.

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Shaakir Thomas – Beyond the Portrait

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“Spike lee” – Medium: Mix Media on Panel

By Erin Corrigan

Shaakir Thomas is a talented painter and visual artist, who currently resides in Long Beach, Long Island. His premier focus is dedicated to creating vivacious portraits of people who inspire him most. Currently, Shaakir attends Pratt Institute, striving toward a bachelor’s degree in Illustration and Communications Design. For him, inspiration can really come from anywhere. Certain outlets such as the media, new music, art exhibitions, varying creative pieces and enlightening conversation with others, all play a significant role in Shaakir’s relationship with his own visionary process.

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“Gustav Klimt Sketch” – Medium: Watercolor on Paper

For most talented artists, time and money are simply imperative. Shaakir’s chief focus is devoted to painting, but says that it all truly depends upon the amount of time he has on his hands, as well as the amount of cash he has in his pocket. For someone currently enrolled in one of the top twenty colleges in the Regional Universities North category, I believe it is safe to say that the work Mr. Thomas produces is more than respectable; considering what he has to juggle in order to keep a healthy cushion for his artistry. Shaakir says that when he is really crunched for time, he is more inclined to work on components such as charcoal drawings and dry medium pieces. Seeing as though the supplies required for such projects come at a much lower price, Shaakir is ready and able to keep his creative hand moving, without breaking the bank. Regardless of the ingredients used when developing varying works of art, each portrait seems to hold a very significant meaning.

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“Bella” – Medium: Oil on Canvas

One piece in specific is titled “Portrait of Lupita”. This masterful work of vibrant, contrasting colors, displays the image of actress Lupita Nyong’o. Shaakir shared with me the inspiration he drew through Lupita’s acceptance speech at the 2014 Oscars. Lupita selflessly put forth her story regarding self acceptance and beauty, influencing Shaakir to create a portrait where all of that courage could shine through and present a loud, confident statement. Not only does Shaakir focus on putting a genuine foundation beneath each of his portraits, he also manages to incorporate a certain energy that illuminates each and every one of them.

Come check out Shaakir Thomas’ effervescent oil, acrylic and water color art displays at this year’s SPARKBOOM kickoff event “Beards, Bards, and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace from 7-10 PM.  You won’t be disappointed! These pieces will also be available for purchase.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_1801Erin Corrigan is an aspiring writer with an open mind. She believes that music, art and poetry are the essential nutrients for every soul. Giving a voice to the budding faces of the literary and fine arts community is what she’s here to accomplish!

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Nancy Wong – Art and Life Through Motion

Working on _Embraced in his October peace_

By Jenna Weis

Experiences, dreams, and imaginations we all encounter through the journey of life, in every aspect of life, create a constant motion that multimedia artist Nancy Wong thrives in with her art work. As a self taught artist she uses the everyday as her resource for inspiration. Using found materials such as cardboard for a canvas and a variety of different drawing tools over what would be deemed traditional, Wong’s art truly sets her apart. The animated quality and symbolic undertones together leave_Each of us shares a mark here II_s the viewer engaged as well as curious. She states “A range of my work from oil paintings, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, or mixed media derives from ideas set from every day experiences or where our dreams and imagination may take us.”

This idea of motion, in regards to life experiences, prevails throughout Wong’s art in every medium she sets before her. Her two dimensional pieces have a constant flow that is made visible in the way she handles the brush, sharpie, or pen. Swirls are a reoccurring decorative element that she explains “Drawing swirls is a relaxing, stress free technique requiring constant movement, concentration, and staying meticulous to the lines established.”

From a personal evolutionary sense Wong recalls her summer of 2003 when she was constantly oContinuous scalesn the go between work, friends, family and other activities. This experience gave Wong the foundation for her porcelain koi fish piece which visually displays her progression in to the artist she is today. Wong describes this piece as “the process of ten years becoming an individual inspired by different experiences. Although each fish is different in style and length, it functions together as a whole piece.” Fish, as a representation of good luck in the Chinese culture here represent how her movement through past and present experiences together helps shape the artist.

RodrigoWith a reliance on herself and her morals Wong’s work radiates this confidence and depth beyond the beautiful aesthetics on the surface. She makes a statement that I feel everyone should live by no matter what we do or who we are…

“I believe it’s important to have a good work ethic, be genuine, and use your whole heart to create something if it is meaningful to you.”

 

Come experience Nancy Wong’s work at SPARKBOOM’S kickoff event “Beards, Bards and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st from 7-10 PM at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. RSVP here. For more information visit: sparkboom.org.

To see more of Nancy’s art visit: nancywong.tk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rain roomJenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.

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Gina Altadonna – Taking Control of Society’s Expectations with Art

“Carousel”

By Jenna Weis

The artwork of Gina Altadonna illustrates her own past experiences that, at the same time, also unite most people who face insecurities in today’s society. Through images of various animals and self portraits, this artist uses the expression of art to demonstrate a narrative connection between the two and then forces the viewer to ponder their own experiences. In a world where so much of what we do or how we think of ourselves is subconsciously regulated by others, here we have someone who is creatively taking control. With contemplation, time, and fearlessness to exhibit her inner wounds, visually compelling art is produced.

Altadonna received her BFA in Drawing and Painting from Pennsylvania State University, where she immersed herself in the exploration of animals. Their symbolic nature has become the back bone of her art work and a recurring theme. She sates; “Animals allow me to visually personify my psychological wounds because they are something real, tangible, something that can be studied and examined, as well as understood.” Her art radiates with this need to showcase her struggles that every one of us has come face-to-face with at some point in our lives.

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“Sugar High”

Her paintings display a literal comparison of herself to these animals in a diptych format, while mimicking their posture to emphasize this connection. The fantasy-like manipulation of her and the animals, and the lucent color palette will engage you to want to understand what is being presented to you. The same whimsical style can also be seen in her pen and ink drawings. With these pieces she and the animals are seamlessly morphed as one entity that is highly detailed and then let unfinished. She explains; “These moments give the viewer time and space to contemplate, finish the work themselves, as well as a glimpse of my technique.” Technique and the actual creative process, which is often left unseen in art, play a big role for the artist. “Patience, repetition, detail, and internal reflection, all become mantras to my art practice”, she says, and this is seen in every careful and thought-out detail that is fully being explored. This slow process allows her the space to evaluate her life experiences that bring forth beautifully rendered images.

Gina Altadonna’s work will be featured at SPARKBOOM‘s 2014 KICKOFF EVENT – “Beards, Bards and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st, at The Walt Whitman Birthplace. For more info, visit sparkboom.org. RSVP to our FB event here.

To view more of Gina’s work, visit ginaaltadonna.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rain room Jenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.

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