Creative Cafe // Artist Gloria Graham Sollecito

South Florida mixed media artist, kitchen and bath designer, and avid world traveler, Gloria Graham Sollecito joins us in the Creative Cafe to discuss her artistic journey, share what’s inspiring her now and offer insightful advice to creatives.

Artist and kitchen designer Gloria Graham Sollecito at work in her studio.

Artist and designer Gloria Graham Sollecito at work in her studio.

I am inspired by the rich and varied history of art, and delve deeply into learning about other artists,especially women and those who have come before us. Female artists of the past have so much to offer us but we do not hear of them nearly enough. I am also invigorated and inspired by books, travel and my native South Florida.

I see creating art as an essential vehicle for human expression. I perceive my art as an intuitive journey and a means to my own personal growth. Having been a world traveler since childhood, I clearly see the need for human connection and the realization that we are all on different paths of the same journey.  Through my artwork,  I wish to facilitate realization of the essence we all have in common. The viewer connecting with the artist and, in turn, with the truth within themselves.

Art attracts me because it offers infinite possibilities for personal expression. I also enjoy working with my hands and feeling the work as it comes into creation.

Inner Beauty- 17"X14" encaustic (beeswax, resin, pigment) painting on wood with painted Florida Pecky Cypress frame.

“Inner Beauty”  a 17″ x 14″ encaustic (beeswax, resin, pigment) painting on wood with painted Florida Pecky Cypress frame.

If not pursuing art, then I would be doing something else creative. I also like to write. I am a kitchen and bath designer by trade. I merge all of these things together with my business, Artful Kitchens.

Being an artist informs my world view by allowing me to experience all I see and do more fully. I have found that an artist’s perspective has the power to enrich the human experience.

The most recent art-related book I’ve read and would recommend is Eva Hesse” by Lucy Lippard. Hesse was a sculptor known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass and plastics. She is one of the artists who ushered in the post-minimal art movement in the 1960s. The book is an in depth exploration of her work and life. Although I am enjoying this book, I would also recommend  “Daybook” by celebrated twentieth century sculptor Anne Truitt.  “Daybook” is the first in a trilogy of her diaries in which she writes of her everyday life experiencing all the stages of being a woman and an artist.

The Repetition of Days currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach is an acrylic painting comprised of twelve 12"X12" canvases.

“The Repetition of Days” currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach is an acrylic painting comprised of twelve 12″X12″ canvases. Each piece examines the repetitious nature inherent in daily routines.

The most challenging artistic project I’ve undertaken is “The Repetition of Days” art series which examines the redundancy of daily routine. It seems, on the surface, that our lives are so repetitive yet at the same time each day it is absolutely unique and never to be repeated. It took me 12 months to create and consisted of  twelve 12″X 12″ canvases. Each  background was created as one whole, each square related to the next but resulting in the first and last canvases being totally different. The smaller squares within the canvases are a documentation of my days, thoughts and feelings at that time. It was important to me to keep the technique (acrylic paint on canvas) very simple and minimal to emphasize the conceptual aspect of the work. In order to complete this work I had to stick with it for one year and then I had to find the courage to put the finished product out into the world. I’d have to say it is the artwork I am most proud of at this time, and it is currently on exhibit at The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach as a part of a show called Artists of Art Salon: A Collective Dialogue

My creative endeavors including writing for my blog,  Artful Kitchens (formerly titled Kitchens for Living) have allowed me to travel to trade shows both domestically and internationally to learn about the products of my industry. And these creative undertakings have also provided me with the opportunity to meet inspiring people and to immerse myself in many different cultures.

Abstract Homage to Edna St. Vincent Millay- 12"X15" mixed media collage on canvas board in white wood frame When an artist or writer captures my attention this is what happens!

Captivated by the writings of Edna St. Vincent Millay,  Gloria created this “Abstract Homage to Edna St. Vincent Millay”- 12″X15″ mixed media collage on canvas board in white wood frame.

The project I dream about creating someday is to create a body of work, at least 25 pieces, enough for a solo show. So far I know that three dimensions will be involved as well as layers, assemblage, natural rocks and shells. I’m still formulating the concept but this dream is on its way to becoming something real, a legacy for my children and who ever finds connection and validation in the work. Stay tuned!

SurfAcing- 12"X12" encaustic mixed media on wood panel This painting was made using the encaustic medium of painting with a combination of molten beeswax, resin and pigment. The lone natural element is a beach stone emerging from the wax. The ocean is referenced and as a native Floridian is never far from my mind.

“SurfAcing” a 12″X12″ encaustic mixed media on wood panel. “This painting was made using the encaustic medium of painting with a combination of molten beeswax, resin and pigment. The lone natural element is a beach stone emerging from the wax. The ocean is referenced and as a native Floridian, it is never far from my mind.”

My advice to those who feel the call to pursue their creative dreams is to understand that we are all creative in some aspect, so my advice is CREATE!! You will never be done with all the chores of everyday living. Don’t say I will do it when the laundry is done or the kids are grown. Begin now in small ways. The only way art will happen, for most of us, is if we thread it into our daily lives, a sketch, doodle or stitch at a time. Involve the kids and they benefit, too. Do it – it will enrich all the other areas of your life. If you read “Daybook” you will see how a professional artist merged art and necessity.

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