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Meet Gina M

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina M.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was raised in a funky and creative family who owned and operated a puppet theater in California. Every weekend the adults would develop shows, build puppets and host other children’s birthday parties. Us kids passed out the cake, ice cream, and punch, cleaned up, and mostly kept to out of the way.

Today, my own artwork embraces a sense of whimsy with a dark side. As a child, nurtured by puppets and their puppeteers, my affinity for the anthropomorphic helped me cope with and accept the divorce and divide of my family. You could call it art/play therapy. It’s no surprise to me that my personal narrative uses innocent childhood imagery — teddy bears, toys, games and puppets — to release the reactionary expressions of my inner emotional life.

Please tell us about your art.
In college, I studied photography, interior design, and color theory. I also attended workshops and received private training in painted trompe l’oeil, mural and decorative wall treatments. This diverse educational background influences all of my art making.

I select materials based on their authenticity to my process. I choose clay because of its fragility, its relationship to the earth, and its tradition in arts and craft. I incorporate recycled materials such as wood and found objects because of their nostalgia and reference to aging, decay, and decomposition. Encaustic paint, wax, and resins speak to my faux finish experience and love of historic art materials.

In the studio today I’m working on assemblage sculptures I call my Toy-Box-Kids. For years I’ve collected objects that I love or loved as a child. These well-worn found treasures, rich with their own history, gravitate to one another like narrative magnets. Making them reminds me of my time alone, behind the stage, where puppets were my friends.

My 2017 solo show, Midway, at Gallery 825 in L.A., CA combined assemblage with ceramics. I created trompe l’oeil “fool-the-eye” sculptures made of high-fired ceramic clay, oxide washes, encaustic paint and found objects. Their homespun construction and textured surfaces simulate threadbare fabric, tattered fur, and the broken button eyes of careworn, faded toys and carnival games.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Artists get to amplify and record events, giving history an emotional context. I have done that with my own personal history and I see today’s events driving people to create and express themselves.

The news affects me now, whereas previously I avoided watching it. I take the time, energy, and opportunity to creatively examine events and explore the deep questions, fears, and emotions that well up inside. I didn’t consider myself all that “political,” but up to and after the recent presidential election, I felt that I no longer had a choice to stay quiet. Feelings of helplessness overwhelmed me and the art emerged. Childhood images of toys, clowns, and the circus expressed a fragile emotional state.

Giving birth to these inanimate objects drawn from my subconscious has given me a sense of release and regeneration. Each project, once completed, spurs me on to create another one. It’s my way of examining my fears and unraveling my anxieties. Maybe someone will feel a sense of connectedness with my angst, reminding them we’re in this together.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am a member of two art organizations—Los Angeles Art Association and the Pasadena Society of Artists and often participate in their group shows. I also direct a program In support of PSA’s artist scholarship where Starr House The Salon in San Marino hosts a rotating solo art exhibit for selected PSA artists and donates to the fund each time the show changes. This month my paper pieces are up between shows.

Also, the Wall-O-Smalls from my October solo show, Midway, is on exhibit at McGinty’s Gallery at The End of the World, located at 869 E Mariposa St. Altadena CA. And “Follow the Leader Wherever He May Go,” is on exhibit at the CA 101 2018 group show. Check my website for upcoming shows.

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1 Comment

  1. Penny Stewart

    June 11, 2018 at 14:38

    Fabulous! Congratulations Gina on your success. May you have many more!

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