My art is created from a combination of fine art materials, including acrylic paint, watercolor and ink, and discarded materials, such as found-on-the-street Styrofoam and foam core scraps from my studio floor. The found materials were used either by others or by me; some may be years old or parts of failed art works that I set aside for future use. Timing is essential, as I don’t utilize my saved materials until I have an understanding of their value.
The process of salvaging and reusing materials so integral to the objects I create, was inspired by my late grandmother Babcia, an immigrant from Western Ukraine. Babcia spent many years living in Poland with my family until coming to Newark, NJ in the 1960s. My mother told me that when my grandmother was a young girl, her family owned a business, she rode horses, had a seamstress, and someone even braided her hair. During the war, her family lost everything and was very poor.
My Babcia had to become very resourceful to survive which is one of the qualities I most admire about her. She could take any old scraps in her refrigerator and cook up a delicious soup on request; clothes that didn’t fit came back to life with minor alterations; embroidered tablecloths and doilies spruced up the saddest furniture. Despite being frugal, she was also very generous. Everything she created made those around her feel special.
These admirable qualities are my artistic heritage from my Babcia. We both create beauty and nourish our bodies through our creative activities. I often think when I am in the studio that the scraps of foam core, with their random shapes and accidental drips of paint, that I use in my art, are as nourishing as the bits of carrots, beets, and onion skins used in making Babcia’s soups.