Tears of Colour

Tears of Colour

Featured Artist: Interview with Anne Camozzi

 

About Anne Camozzi:

Anne Camozzi creates art and writes in Nova Scotia, Canada. An early passion for the arts led her to an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University (Toronto, Canada) in 1976. While studying painting, she was one of two writing apprentices selected to work with well known Canadian author, W.O. Mitchell.  After graduating, she joined the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) as a television and radio reporter for a few years. Later, she moved to Nova Scotia and earned a Masters in Adult Education.  While raising two children, Anne became an award winning, international environmental education consultant, and later, a university senior administrator.

In 2003, illness forced Anne to slow her fast-paced lifestyle and on the advice of her physiotherapist, she began using drawing as a distraction from pain. Picking up a paint brush for the first time in over 25 years, she soon regained the passion for art she had as a young woman, discovering a talent for paintings on silk, based on the French Serti method and began a full time studio practice. opening the Anne Camozzi Art & Design Studio in 2004. Her unique art has been commissioned by Feed Nova Scotia, the Peoples’ Place Library, NS Easter Seals, QEII Hospital Foundation, QEII Hospital Pain Management Unit, Aids Coalition NS and the North American Highland Dancing Championships, among others. She has done numerous private commissions, including art for offices of professionals with healing practices, and for individuals with cancer, or in palliative care including a series of angels for children with cancer.

Her art is in private collections in Canada, Europe, India, Asia and the United States, and in public collections in Nova Scotia.  She has exhibited in group shows at St.Francis Xavier University Art Gallery and Lyghtesome Gallery and in Ontario, as well as in a solo show at the J. Franklin Wright Gallery in Nova Scotia.

Integrating her lifelong interests, she is currently working on several projects involving writing and art, while enjoying family and grandchildren, and remaining engaged in community social justice projects.  In September 2016 her studio published a book of Anne’s art and writing entitled “Galaxies- Serenity Within“. It has been sold all over Canada and the US and copies have been  shipped or hand delivered to the Netherlands, England, Portugal, Indonesia, Mongolia, Japan at last count. As many purchasers bought multiple copies for gifts, we,re not sure where they have all landed. It’s been an exciting new venture for the studio.


What first sparked your interest in art? 

I had no art at home growing up or in elementary school other than cutting and pasting which I flunked as I was left handed trying to use righthanded scissors. I saw some books of art in a library and thought I would try drawing.  A high school teacher gave me paints after seeing some drawings I had done and really encouraged me.  I discovered pure joy and happiness when I painted and drew and couldn’t believe how wonderful it felt. I was shocked when my portfolio was accepted for a highly competitive visual arts program at university.

Your art is created using the French Serti technique? Can you tell me a little about this process?

You are referring here to my paintings on silk. I also paint with acrylics, draw with pen and ink, pastels and do photography. The French serti technique uses gutta (a rubber compound) to create a barrier so paints can’t flow freely on the silk. Most silk painters remove the gutta after painting. I leave it in and consider it and the line I create with it, an integral part of my art. The paints used in this technique are special dyes and the painting technique is similar to watercolour using watercolour brushes.
Shaman Angel

Shaman Angel

What do you like most about painting on silk?

I love the fact that the line is as important as the colour. I love the act of drawing and painting in one piece.
But most of all, I love the vibrancy of the colour and also the ability to overlay many layers of colour.  There is also a fun aspect that one can’t always completely control the paint, so sometimes spontaneous outcomes can be thrilling and surprising.

What is the biggest challenge you face with this process (if any)?

As a fairly disabled person it’s a challenge to prepare the silk (wash, iron and stretch). However preparation of anything is difficult for me and this is easier than stretching canvas or working at a traditional easel. The other challenge is that one can not undo mistakes. In oil and acrylics, one can mask a mistake or something the artist wants to change. With silk painting, every stroke has to be right, there is no going back! The other challenge is having my silk paintings considered as legitimate fine art. Some people relegate them to more craft then fine art. I would argue this point vehemently and feel the technique requires a high level of skill and understanding of colour theory (at least the way I paint).

Leaf Angels

Leaf Angels

Your bio mentions that some of your inspiration comes from dreams…What influence do dreams have on your art?

I dream in fantastic colour and imagery. I like to use the colour and imagery from my dreams and transform them into paintings and drawings.

You have a lot of birds, angels and spirals…Is there a symbolism behind these repeating images?

The spiral image is central to my art as a universal symbol of the pathway to “source energy” or  and I use it as meaning the soul of a person or animal in my work. I have always been fascinated by the amazing spiral form in nature and have studied the Fibonacci number series in regard to this. I am an avid naturalist and environmentalist and birds hold a particular fascination for me and have been an important part of my life. I once taught a young crow to say hello. As an environmentalist I often try to emphasize that humans are part of nature and smaller than it, so I will depict people within leaves, for example, to emphasize this interconnectedness.

Although many of the paintings on my website have angels in them, I only use angels in a small fraction of my paintings.  Most of the time I have done an angel painting it has been a commission for someone who is dealing with a difficult situation, or dying and most of the website paintings are commissions.

I did a series of angels for children with cancer and these were popular with young patients who would cart their angel from hospital to home and back. I’d sew special loops so their angels could be hung on hospital curtains. I have also done angel commissions for people who have had a loved one who has died.

Having said that I generally only paint angels as commissions, I must confess I believe in angels – both earthly ones (those special people who seem to appear and help you just when you need it) and ones from the great mystery beyond. I had an experience of an angel coming to hold me during a trauma when I was four years old and since then I have shared angel drawings and paintings when people ask. I often have small angelic creatures in my painting to represent the mystery of a life beyond this one.

Irises

Irises

What role does art play in healing?

Art distracts the brain from pain and suffering and lights up an area of the brain that can do remarkable things.  Doctors know now, for example, that people looking at, or engaging in art, often require less pain medication.  Art engages a different side of our brain and in doing so challenges our mind to work differently. This can often lift the spirits of a person and has also been shown to aid in mental illness and promote mindfulness which has been proven to be healthy in many ways.
I have seen people who are dying, visibly relax when viewing one of my palliative paintings and tell me that for the first time they felt they had something other than their illness to focus on.  One person told me that when she was ready to die she was going to crawl into my image. This engagement of the imagination is needed when one is suffering or facing grief and loss. If one is creating the art, it can be even more healing and enlivening as it gives one purpose and goals, as well as the distraction.

Would you like tell me a little bit about your recent book, “Galaxies- Serenity Within“?

My book was born when a palliative care doctor who himself was dying, viewed one my paintings, especially commissioned for him. He told me my painting had taken him ” out of his head” and into a “quiet serene place” but then sadly told me that he wouldn’t be able to see my painting once I hung it on the curtain as his vision was failing as he died. He begged me to find a way to make my “colourful, comforting and hopeful art” more “accessible to people who were suffering”. After testing mock ups, the final result “Galaxies- Serenity within” has now shipped all over North America, to Asia, and Europe. It is a slim, elegant, beautifully produced high quality 32 pg. giftbook of art and writing that’s deliberately easy to hold.
Corvids

Corvids

Anything else you’d like to share?

I believe all people all creative in some way and that if the world could tap into this creativity we can and will make a better world. As artists we have a responsibility to talk about the issues that are important to our common futures and weave these messages into our art. Thanks for the opportunity to share with you.

Connect with Anne:

Website: http://annecamozzi.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ComfortandSerenity/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anne_camozzi
YouTube: Anne Camozzi Art Studio
Instagram: AnneCamozziart

Featured Artist: Interview with Anne Camozzi | 2017 | Featured Artists 2017, General | Comments (1)

One Response to “Featured Artist: Interview with Anne Camozzi”

  1. […] article available here features an interview with me, as well as a selection of some of my work: http://www.koschwitzsalerno.com/home/featured-artist-interview-with-anne-camozzi/ Thanks so much to Lisa and I hope you enjoy reading […]