My life path has taken me through living in several states across the US, pursuing a career in industrial design, and creating a line of home textiles in NYC until finally landing in New Orleans in 2016 and returning in earnest to my lifelong practice of creating art. Being a multifaceted creative and innately curious person brings diverse inspiration and techniques to my work: inspiration comes in from traditional portraiture and religious icons, geometric patterns, folk art and voodoo culture. By adding to traditional techniques and mediums with assemblage of mundane objects like construction nails, beads, and hardware, I create work that explores themes of identity, mysticism and symbolism. Using wood as a substrate is a logical choice based on a lifetime of woodworking, but I also appreciate the random, natural knots and texture as an integral layer of visual interest in each piece.
Artist + Deborah Shavlik
Describe your art in three words.
lyrical, precise, psychedelic
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
My evil eye pieces were influenced by the dolls, talismans, candles and charms in voodoo shops around the city. I created my first one as a protective talisman on my front gate of my house, just kept making them, and they eventually morphed into my geometric matrix / mandala eye paintings.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
Since I prefer to do portraits or figurative work, I'll generally chew on an idea for a few days or weeks, and then look for a suitable subject for the composition I have in mind. Once the idea is fleshed out mentally, then I'll sit down and the work goes pretty quickly - it can take a few days to a week or more depending on the piece. I like to keep “bankers hours” to do any creative work - my eyes and energy are fresh in the morning and I really prefer to work in natural light.
Where do you draw inspiration?
There’s so much to be inspired by: a line from a book, a specific song, shapes and colors in nature, textile patterns, architectural details…..any time I browse a gallery or museum there’s something to be surprised by and inspired by. I try and keep my eyes and ears open.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Francis Bacon, Cai Guo-Qiang, Julie Speed, Ernst Haeckel, Richard Prince, Yoshitomo Nara, Anish Kapoor, Horst Janssen, Hilma af Klint and many many more.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Music is essential to getting into the zone when I’m working: my tastes range wildly but my mainstay is psychedelic rock. It has a steady droning tempo I can relax into and flow with.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
You'll find me puttering about in my yard and garden, taking my pup Winston for walks in city park, working on some type of house reno, or just hanging out with friends.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
I really love the long summers and warm weather in Nola. I headed South after realizing 6-month long winters really wore me down emotionally and spiritually. And in a tropical climate everything grows! For me, it truly makes a difference to a healthy mindset to be outdoors in nature and enjoying my garden for most of the year.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I’m pretty adept at reading tarot cards.
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Works Gallery by appointment.
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