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RENE'S ARTIST STATEMENT

My Evolution as an Artist

To begin to understand my varied artworks you need to understand my evolution as an artist. My serious interest in the visual arts of drawing, painting, and photography began as a teen. However, it was not until I moved to San Francisco in the 1990’s that I began to pursue in earnest my lifelong dream of becoming a professional artist. Living in this progressive city where art galleries, museums, and art schools are abundant, I began taking art and photography courses and was introduced to the creative uses of Polaroid film. For nearly 10 years I used a vintage 1972 Polaroid SX-70 camera (shown here) to create hand-manipulated photographs until that film was no longer made. My images looked like Impressionistic paintings and I coined the term “fauxtographs” for these part-photo, part-painting creations. Living in San Francisco opened my eyes to many types of art and artists and I began studying the works of well known Bay Area painters whose work I liked such as Diebenkorn and Thiebaud.

 

With the SX-70 film no longer available, I turned to making digital photographs (which at the time was on the cutting edge of development) and then combining them with paint in my studio. At that time I also became interested in an art form called collage and I studied the works of Kurt Schwitters, the “father” of collage. All of these art forms: photography, painting, and collage have led me to the mixed-media artwork I am currently doing. I am inspired and motivated by the work of Robert Rauschenberg and he has had a major influence in my work. I find much of his work fills my soul and gives me much food for thought.

 

My evolution as an artist and a woman has been an exciting journey, and I continue to learn, explore, and grow. My art-making inspiration comes from taking photos locally and while traveling which helps me to stop and really see the world around me. My current work can be described as contemporary mixed-media. I often combine my own photographs with layers of acrylic paint and embellish the canvas with marks made in charcoal, wax crayon, graphite, and pastel, as I add more collage elements. These elements are usually new and old magazine pages, maps, postcards, stamps, letters, and other memorabilia. Using my sense of design, I discriminately place these elements onto the canvas while continuing to add color, lines, shapes, and texture to refine my art until I feel the piece is finished. I love paint—to me the expressive colors, drips, and brushstrokes can only be achieved with paint. It's exciting for me to bring together my photographs, collage materials, and my love of painting in a new way. My mixed-media art is often reminiscent of an earlier era yet also unmistakably contemporary. My intention is to create modern art filled with layers of history and texture. I then offer my work to the viewer to complete the story by interpreting it through their own lens and experience.

CONTEMPORARY MIXED-MEDIA ARTIST