“ When I’m creating, it’s not my objective to make an image that appeals to the largest demographic possible.
I can’t please everyone and I just try to express myself in an honest way, no matter how it could be received or opposed by some.”
Genevive Zacconi has a new solo show coming up December 10th at Last Rites Gallery in New York. She has worked both sides of the art world – as an astounding painter as well as a curator.
Many of her works are strong statements on the roles women play or are forced to play in our society, having the guts to portray the reality of the female form. Some tell narrative stories influenced by relationships and stereotypes, often uncomfortable imagery which speaks bravely to the heart of the matter. Others deal with emotion and surreal, more private symbolism. She shares some thoughts on her works, background and experiences with Eclectix.
Can you tell us where you were born and a little history about your childhood?
I was born in Philadelphia. Growing up, I went to Catholic school. I lived far from the school I attended, so didn’t have many friends in my area, and consequentially spent much of my time alone and drawing. My mother worked in the medical industry and my father was an artist (of sorts), so I was lucky in that I was encouraged to think in both analytical and creative ways.
How did Catholic school influence you?
I think it goes without saying that all religions are a little weird, but Catholicism in particularly is a strange. It’s extremely fetishistic, glorifies pain & suffering, and employs a lot of downright bizarre imagery. Often times I can tell just from an artist’s work that they’ve grown up Catholic; perhaps, even now, I still carry that aesthetic in my own art.
What inspired/prompted the vision/image for the most recent piece you completed?
I have several new paintings that I’m working on right now, but the last one I’ve actually completed is called “Illusions of Grandeur” (above). In a way, it’s a follow up to my painting “Delusions of Candor” (below). This one is inspired by the masks women wear and the illusions we employ when it comes to cosmetics (also surgery, photography, etc)- disguising parts of ourselves deemed unattractive.
If there was an artist, dead or alive, that you could spend 24 hours with; who would it be and what would you do?
This is a really difficult question. There are so many artists whom I’d love to get to spend time with and experience as people. But I’d probably most benefit from a 24 hour painting lesson with someone like Ingres or Caravaggio.
What materials, specific brand of paint/glue/pencil do you prefer to use?
A favorite? And why?
I paint in oils but I don’t use any specific brand for my colors, it really varies dependent on where I’m shopping for supplies and what colors I’m getting. Although, Pearl makes a sable fan brush that I love. I don’t usually use their brand for anything else, but adore that brush for blending… I’ve went through a few of them and actually prefer it to some of the more expensive fan and mop brushes that I own.
Is there a technique, procedure or tip that you have discovered, you could pass onto other artists?
I wouldn’t advise anyone to pick up my painting procedure- it’s long and tedious, and I’m probably doing a lot of pointless steps. But hmmm… a tip on something that I’m currently using? Well, my current crush is Naples Yellow. I use it to lighten a lot of my warmer toned colors (also sometimes just as a straight warm highlight). I avoid using white to lighten, as it desaturates color, so I’ve found this to be a really nice pigment for mixing purposes.
What is your favorite word? Last song you chose to listen to?
“Miniature”- it’s my nickname for my dog, Raven (she’s 6lbs, so it fits).
And “Lovely Creature” by Nick Cave happens to be playing on my iTunes as I’m writing this.
If you could pick one piece of art to own, out of the world’s museums, personal collections and galleries, what would it be?
Wow, this is another tough question. It might make my brain explode to have to decide on one piece of art. I’ll just list three favorite paintings that first come to mind, although I’m even having a hard time keeping this list contained to just a few. And if you ask me at another time this list would probably be different.
Of all your works, what is your own personal favorite?
At the moment, my favorite painting I’ve created is “Disillusion” (below). I’ve actually only explained this painting to the collector who bought it and a few close friends. It’s hard for me to put into words fully what my paintings mean to me, but I’ll try to briefly sum this one up here: The “Disillusion” painting is basically inspired by entering into a new situation, but being weary and distrustful due to previous experiences. The woman in the box has scars from prior jabs of the knife, and is afraid to get hit again; she has a ribbon tied around her ring finger to remember. The viewer gets to see beyond the “smoke and mirrors” of the circus act of the knife box… The title comes from being disillusioned in it’s literal context, but also suggests that by seeing into the box, you are losing the illusion that a magician performing this act would convey. However, I do have a few new paintings in the works that I think will rival this one as my personal favorite, both in content and aesthetic. We shall see!
As a woman in the arts, do you have any thoughts (good or bad) on how being a woman might have influenced your art or career?
Nearly every major aspect of my life has affected my art, so obviously being a woman has as well. My work comes from a feminine viewpoint, so I’m sure this perspective in my paintings has influenced how people view them, and in turn, affected my career. I think we’re past the point where anyone would not work with someone strictly because they’re a woman; but perhaps because of the specific issues I’m addressing in my some of my work, resulting from my own experiences, there may be a few of my paintings that appeal less to males than to females. However, I’m sure there are also people who just don’t connect to my art because of issues other than gender. When I’m creating, it’s not my objective to make an image that appeals to the largest demographic possible. I can’t please everyone and I just try to express myself in an honest way, no matter how it could be received or opposed by some. So yes- I’m sure that being a woman has affected my art & career, just as everything else about me has.
In your role as a curator – what is the most negative experience you’ve had?
And the most positive?
I suppose the most negative experience would be organizing a show where everyone involved is late with everything (or where things unexpectedly go wrong, last minute). You try to manage the situation as best as you can, and give reminders to artists about deadlines, but sometimes things are just beyond your realm of control. One of the biggest challenges is curating a large group show in which many artists are tardy with images and shipping art. It’s like trying to herd cats.
The best aspect, however, is being able to orchestrate a good show. When you can find good homes for many works of art, the artists are happy with how their work was presented, and the exhibit is memorable- curating can be a very rewarding job.
LINK – Genevive’s Website
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(This entry was originally posted on 11/3/10)
eclectix interview, feminist art, Genevive Zacconi, Genevive Zacconi artist, Genevive Zacconi interview, surrealism, women artists
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