Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Love of Painting

“For me, success is simply getting into the flow in the studio
and making work that blows my own mind.

Alyssa Monk

The realist figurative painter Alyssa Monk credits her mother as being a, if not the, major motivation in her pursuit of an artistic career through her support of her daughter’s aspirations, her approach to life and even her death.

As Monk told Artophilia’s Paulina Kaminska “My mother, her life and passing, have been a great source of influence on my work. She lived in a very creative way, and everything she did, she brought her own creative attitude and experimental technique to. Being so close to her was a constant lesson on how to live creatively, be willing to try new things, be willing for them to not always work out and enjoy it anyway. She knew how to enjoy life and love whatever she was doing.”

Monk was the youngest of eight children and her mother primed the pump for her daughters painting aspirations by ferrying her to innumerable art classes.

As Monk recalled “I started painting in oils at about 8 years old, maybe younger, I don’t remember. I have a memory of taking an oil painting class while I was in kindergarten, too. But by the time I was about 14 I was pretty sure this was my path. I can’t say I had it all thought out, and most adults were trying to steer me into a more practical, life sustaining career. But I was already forming much of my identity and devoting my time and focus on painting. By 17 I was totally committed and fighting for it. When it came to figuring out money, I thought I’d be an assistant or waitress for my income, so long as I could paint. That was the plan.”

The death of her mother in 2012 saw Monk not only gravitate from her semi-abstract shower/water subjects to figures as landscape elements but also that her mother’s ethos towards life invaded the studio where Monk had sought solace.

As she explained to Vamp Magazine’s Miguel Figueroa “What I learned in trying to paint in the new landscape I was living in was that painting was an act of Love. It was no longer about finishing paintings, it was about getting lost and finding the resolution through experimentation that doesn’t always succeed, but does often surprise.”

A concept Monk reiterated in her 2015 TEDx talk at Indiana University saying “Let’s take the opportunity to find something beautiful in the unknown, in the unpredictable and even in the awful.”

Monks current exhibition of paintings Resolution is on show at New York’s Forum Gallery until the 7th of May.


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