Eugenie Diserio's influence comes from all corners -- practicing yoga, songwriting and performing in two New Wave groups in the 80s, art school, and entrepreneurial endeavors. Happy to share her vibrant, abstract paintings! More at the links below the interview!
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I'd love to know a bit about you! Where are you from originally, and where are you based now?
I was born in the Bronx, NY and grew up there and in the suburbs. I've lived in Rome, Italy; Philadelphia, PA; New York City; Woodstock, NY; New Canaan, CT; and currently live and work in Stamford, CT.
What has your art education been like, whether formally or informally?
My mature training included junior year at Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy, a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, a summer residency at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, and an MFA from Columbia University.
As a graduate student, I co-designed and produced the catalog for "Rooms,” the inaugural show at what became MoMA PS 1 in Long Island City, NY. The show contained the most cutting edge artists working during the late 70’s, and working with them completely expanded my vision and concept of what art could be.
When did you first discover or become interested in art?
For as long as I can remember, I drew and painted what I saw in the world. My mother encouraged me and took me to museums and I went to art classes and camps.
Your paintings are very gestural and energetic, and you utilize various methods of scratching, dripping, and brushing of paint. How would you describe the work you do?
Today, I consider painting to be like meditation and yoga, both of which I formally practice.
You lose yourself in time and space, and suspend in the present. I became an abstract painter during my year abroad in Rome. Prior to that I was a realist figurative painter.
When I began making large, abstract canvases, it was about letting the medium of the paint and the action of moving it around take over. My older work incorporated geometry and taped hard edge areas to contrast the fluidity.
Today I am focused on freedom, expansiveness, and infinity, while still using pouring, gestural marks, brushstrokes, scraping, and scratches to show energy, light, and a personal, esoteric calligraphy.
What challenges you or surprises you most about your medium?
I absolutely love paint and color. Sometimes I use a saturated palette as well as one in grays and monochrome. Every painting is a challenge and a creative journey into the unknown. Ultimately, I believe the universe is rigged in our favor, and showing the way home to a successful resolution. You have to notice the signs along the way.
What is your process like?
It varies. Some paintings are done very spontaneously and quickly in one session. Others can take months of stop-and-go, working and hiding to complete the story. I like this quote: "Art is never finished... it is only abandoned,” by Leonardo DaVinci.
Research or prep work can be picking out swatches of Color Aide paper, or responding to an image of a beautifully designed environment, something in nature, or another work of art.
What is your studio or workspace like?
I currently work in my home in a large downstairs space. It has a bathroom and sliding door to look out or step out into a wooded yard when I need a break or want to look at a painting in different light. It is quiet and peaceful. I am planning to find an industrial space in the future to work larger and messier.
What is the best advice you've received? Any that you're glad you chose to ignore?
The best advice is to believe in yourself and be bold. The worst advice was from a teacher back in the day who said my paintings were too beautiful... advice I don't adhere to!
What do you need or value most as an artist?
These days I most need moments of quiet, which clear out my mind to listen to the guidance from within before attempting to say with a brush what is in my heart and soul.
You have to trust in who you are and your vision... not anyone else's.
What is or has been the most challenging or daunting aspect of pursuing art?
Not to be redundant, but really it has to be trusting your gut and following your own intuition.
You have to be self-confident and believe in your focus and direction regardless of compliments and acceptance or criticism and rejection.
I have had so many varied creative journeys in my life in addition to being a visual artist.
I co-founded and performed in Model Citizens, and The Dance, two seminal New Wave art/rock bands in the early 80's. As an astrologer and entrepreneur, I founded the Internet company Astronet in the late 90's. Whether the method is writing, music, or painting the creative process to the end embraces both the struggle and transcendence in the zone.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm juggling several paintings. My main focus is on one inspired by a piece by James Turrell. It is titled "In the Out Door." I often name paintings with the titles of my own songs or other music I love.
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