photos by dkellyphotography.com
I grew up in Manhattan with summers at my family’s 18th century barn house on the eastern end of Long Island. Both environments are richly embedded in my being, affecting all my artwork for the past 29 years.
Having a natural & innate propensity for art, as well as my mother who was an Interior Decorator and a cousin, Larry Zox who was a famous American Abstract painter, I inevitably and naturally gravitated towards art. I drew my entire life finding my subject matter in the faces of friends and relatives or the corners of my home practicing and perfecting the rendering of whatever I saw. Then when I was in my late 20’s I decided to treat myself to what seemed almost exotic; oil painting lessons. I immediately discovered color and art buyers immediately discovered me as an expressive, passionate colorist creating both familiar and sensitive pieces.
At first, while naive and new to painting, in order to be “painterly” I distorted the images I painted. Although I was actually exploring color, my subject matter was definitely rough and not refined.
I painted like this for about 10 years until my teacher from an advanced oil painting class encouraged me to go back to my drawings, refine them and keep my images genuine. I soon realized that the more defined my images were, the freer I was able to be with my backgrounds. I realized that the fundamental aspect of art, drawing, was essential to the open ended freedom of expression I seemed to be bursting to explore with my art.
It also was becoming apparent that formal structure and refinement in all things was what I needed to express myself with complete freedom. Studying art history through my advanced oil painting class and books on art as well as regular museum and gallery visits were satiating my soul. My grammar and high school education at the prestigious Chapin School in New York City presented me with a formality of culture that became truly a part of me. And my college, Trinity College in Hartford, CT with its excellence in education, its caliber in the world of small liberal arts colleges, its genuine beauty as an architecturally exquisite campus with pristine landscaping and the presence of history everywhere – all of that became a part of me, deep down.
“I carry these things with me as I draw each drawing seeking the line or gesture or shape or mood that will inspire me to do a painting.
I carry these things with me as I paint every single painting from beginning to end”
With the shift in attention to my actual drawings, I have explored many different series with my art. Each one (Trees, Abstract Landscapes, Abstract Still Life Paintings, Tools, Fruit, Figures and Florals) has pushed me to learn more about me and how I am able to express what feels important to me.
Ultimately, I ended up where I am today. No matter what my subject matter now (figures, fruits or flowers), with my constantly growing level of drawing ability and color language fluency, I am able to focus on my emotional expression that I am giving to the world. I see color as my true subject and my subject matter, beautiful and gracefully portrayed is what provides the basis for emotion within each painting.
And now with assuredness I have shifted from having my art solely in private homes to also having my art proudly and prominently on display in some notable public venues; Danny Meyer’s restaurant, Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel, NY, NY, Brill Securities, Inc., NY, NY, the Cafe at Fairway Market, Broadway and 74th Street in NYC and the lobby at 462/470 7th Ave, NY, NY.