ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – After years of creating and teaching art, Arlington artist Windy Savarese recently had her first gallery show opening, in Fort Worth. She says it’s the first time she has put her work out for the public to see. She also teaches art at Linda Jobe Middle School in Mansfield. CBSDFW.COM sat down with Savarese to talk about her influences, her work and why she is compelled to create.
CBSDFW.COM: Why are you an artist?
Windy Savarese: I have to be an artist. There’s absolutely nothing else that I can be. It’s such a part of me. I’ve tried other things, and as a teacher I’ve tried other areas of interest, and every single time I come back to art.
CBSDFW.COM: What are some of your influences?
Windy Savarese: Spirituality, most of all. And Frida Kahlo is one of my biggest influences. I suffer from chronic pain, and she did too. Her paintings very graphically depicted that. Mine don’t. But her absolute drive to paint no matter how much pain she was in keeps me going.
CBSDFW.COM: Here in your studio you have a pretty wide range of styles that you have done. Some pieces are very geometric and abstract, and others have much more concrete representations in them. What drives you to create various kinds of work?
Windy Savarese: I am so ADD (attention deficit disorder) in my art that I will go from one series to another series to another series depending on what I come across or what I feel. Right now those two (geometric) pieces represent where I am right now. I’m going through a very cubist phase right now. Picasso would be proud!
CBSDFW.COM: And he moved around from phase to phase as well.
Windy Savarese: Absolutely. With the cubist and the abstract (styles), there’s such a freedom of expression. You don’t have to worry about the exact picture that’s there. You just do it. And whatever you feel like gluing on there or pasting on there or painting on there you just do it. There’s a freedom to it that’s extremely powerful.
Those (cubist pieces) are what I call “paper towel pieces.” If you look underneath them, the layering is actually paper towels that I use to clean off my brushes. I matte them down with a gel medium. I love the idea of carrying one painting over to another painting.
CBSDFW.COM: It sounds like you very deliberately weave a thread from one piece to the next.
Windy Savarese: Absolutely. They have to connect; it’s who I am. I need a connection between my pieces, between my pieces and myself, between my pieces and what’s going on in my life at the time. Right now you’ll see letters all over the place. I think that has a lot to do with – right now I’m very much caught between the life of a teacher and the life of an artist.
CBSDFW.COM: But you’re an art teacher. Doesn’t that bridge that gap?
Windy Savarese: It does bridge that gap in a beautiful way. But there can be some hindrances there as well, because teaching art is not just teaching art. There’s paperwork galore, and all that goes with teaching. I think I’m really at a crossroads right now between teaching art and being an artist.
CBSDFW.COM: How so?
Windy Savarese: I am very much at a point where I would love to work on my art full-time because it has consumed me so. It’s grown to a point where I almost feel like I have no choice – like it’s directing me.
CBSDFW.COM: If you had to choose right now between art and teaching – and you could only choose one – which would it be?
Windy Savarese: As much as I love my kids at school, art to me is not a choice. It’s who I am. And so I have to say that I would choose my own art. I love what my (students) give to me, because they give so much. And perhaps what I don’t realize is that they are inspiring me in ways that I don’t know. If they were missing, then I might lose some inspiration. Who knows? But the only thing I know is that art is not a choice for me.