Artist Spotlight Series: Rachel Volpone
What is your training?
numerous workshops at Castle Hill, Truro, MA
What inspires you and your designs?
Practically everything I look at inspires my work. I started as a landscape painter so a lot of my work starts from natural world but through an abstract lens. For instance, I’m working on some large black & white abstracts right now that use typographical land forms as a basis to start. The blurred/sharp edges mimic waterways, inlets and large bodies of water separating land mass. I also look at a lot of blogs, read a lot of magazines and books, books, books on artists (past & present), interiors, gardening and fashion. Color plays a huge role too–studying the greats like Howard Hodgkin, Cy Twombly, Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, Beatriz Milhazes, Fiona Rae, and Judy Pfaff’s work feeds both my eye and my spirit.
What is your favorite piece?
are a part of a favorite painted collage series that I can’t wait to get back to.
How has the your area influenced your work?
I’m very lucky to live in rural CT, yet be close to NYC. I think there is a certain aesthetic to our area that is directly driven from being so close to one of the greatest cities in the world. Yet not being in the midst of all that frenetic energy and a little bit more laid back enables ideas to percolate on the back burner a bit more. In addition, there is a large community of Connecticut artists working and meeting up through exhibitions, art talks and guilds that help feed and filter new ideas and processes– I love where I live!!
What is your favorite restaurant in your area?
In NYC, Briciola (370 W51st)–a teeny tiny charming neighborhood Italian restaurant that you have to literally squeeze sideways to enter–amazing food, a great wine list and is affordable–a total home run!
What is your favorite cocktail?
My favorite go-to “house” wine is Palazzo Della Torre–an Allegrini/Italian red, I have been drinking it for years and am not tired of it yet!
How do you balance personal life and work?
With three teenage daughters, it can be tricky, but I am lucky to have my studio in the house so I am able to be present when they need me. I work everyday and sometimes find it really hard to put down the paintbrushes to do mom-stuff like cook dinner, break up fights and clean things. Before we moved to our current house with room for a studio, I used to paint at the kitchen table while they ate dinner! I’m pretty happy that the girls have had a lot of exposure to art and artists as people are always stopping by, and the house is filled with all sorts of art coming and going. It will be so interesting to see how their own homes and sensibilities develop.
I am also fortunate that my two sides of my personality can be used in my work–the highly social side for exhibitions/openings/marketing and the quiet introspective side when I paint for hours alone in my studio.
With all the snow, I am dreaming of Turks & Caicos…Parrot Cay ..
To be commissioned to work on a large piece for Kelly Wearstler would be incredibly exciting. Her interiors are three dimensional works of art exploring and pushing all the boundaries–to be part of one would be pretty amazing.
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
Waylande Gregory bullet bowls are so chic and cheerful.
Who is your style icon?
I am a “more is more” type of gal with a special interest in pattern and layering–Michelle Nussbaumer is pretty incredible,
and, of course, the indomitable Iris Apfel, who is a living work of art.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
Well, I am inspired by so many talented artists that it is hard to pick one — I really admire Keltie Ferris,
and Mark Bradford
–the layering and the process that makes their abstract work so fresh and intriguing…and beautiful..
What is your most treasured possession?
My book collection
What are you reading?
I read poetry everyday. Stanley Kunitz and Mary Oliver who were/are both based on the outer Cape –and are very much connected to inner/outer landscapes are favorites, and I have a daily poem delivered to my in-box courtesy of Poets.org.
They dip their wings in the sunset,
They dash against the air
As if to break themselves upon its stillness:
In every movement, too swift to count,
Is a revelry of indecision,
A furtive delight in trees they do not desire
And in grasses that shall not know their weight.
They hover and lean toward the meadow
With little edged cries;
As if frightened at the earth’s nearness,
They seek the high austerity of evening sky
And swirl into its depth.
What are you listening to?
I am addicted to all genres of music from the Arctic Monkeys to Georgian chants–I don’t know how I would manage with out Spotify. Right now I’m going through a southern folk phase with Brown Bird,
and the Civil Wars playing non-stop in the studio
What are your favorite blogs / publications?
I start my day with coffee and The English Room, then I move on to Chinoiserie Chic, Design Sponge, Design Milk, Quintessence, Sketch42, BLOUIN Artinfo, Cote de Texas, Bright.Bazaar, The Cool Collector, Lonny Magazine, AD, Veranda, Elle Decor, to name a few!
Here are a few favorites…
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