We recently rediscovered the work of Mosaic Member BONNIE de ARTEAGA and fell in love all over again with her incredible pieces and the inspiration behind them. We had to know more about her process and the places from which she draws inspiration. Thanks to Bonnie for answering all of our questions!
The subject matter of your work is so interesting. Tell us about your artistic process and the common themes in your work.
I blend images from science, myth and nature. My own poetry often informs my work and sometimes appears alongside or imbedded in my prints. Themes range from the cosmos and Greek myth, to observations of human behavior and most recently, a sense of place.
My recent editions employ mixed media printing in which I layer giclèe, solarplate etching, copperplate etching, chine collè, collagraph, relief printing, and drawing in various combinations.
My woodcuts begin as ink drawings or digital photos. I digitize and transfer them to birch plywood. The drawing is then cut with traditional woodcut as well as electric tools. The blocks are printed on my Conrad etching press.
What artists, places and things inspire your work?
Judy Pfaff is probably my favorite artist. She makes prints, installations, and paintings out of everything from tree roots and spirograph patterns, to expanded foam and wire. She is the same age as I am and her prolific works inspire me to keep making art.
My travels have always inspired me as well. My favorite yearly trips are to Washington Island at the tip of the Niagara Escarpment in Door County, and to visit family in Spain. I have lived “on the ledge” for 25 years and after drinking the water filtered through the escarpment limestone and eating the fish, beef and crops, feel part of the landscape to my very bones. The proof of our sense of place is in our own being.
Many of my prints are inspired by star maps. I try to capture some of the human drama from Greek mythology that is imbedded in the naming and configuration of the constellations. All of us are made of the stuff of stars. When we look into the night sky, we see ourselves as we were and as we will be.
You’ve created so many pieces whether they are sculpture, prints, encaustics, or mixed media… Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?
My favorite piece is a sculpture called “No Favors from the Virgin.” It consists of a rectangular vertical block and a cube supported above by a “neck” of three pieces of driftwood. It is drawn with sumi ink and carved to suggest a veiled Madonna. She has cast resin hands held open and empty. The accompanying poem begins; “The poor have heaven; the rich have virtual reality. Somewhere in between the rest of us have La Lucha, the struggle.” It’s about how we can’t escape the reality of life through magic or fantasy.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
I hope they take away a feeling of mystery – the sense that language and art cannot express anything completely and that we live forever in the midst of questions and ambiguity.
Any current shows or events coming up that we should look for?
I have work at Margaret Lockwood’s Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor this summer. The opening reception is Sunday, May 24. You can also visit my new studio (Callisto Studio) at 900 Cedar Street, Green Bay on Gallery Nite June 18, from 5-9 pm.
For more local artists, visit our Artist Registry.