Artist on the Edge: Luisa Calcano

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Luisa Calcano “Compulsion (Part I)” (2017), Acrylic and fine point pen on Indian handmade paper, 8.5x11in.

1. Tell me about your process as an artist.

The first step of my process, I have an idea and develop it into a concept through brainstorming and thinking. Next, I practice techniques and skills on a surface. GradShotThis could mean I’m playing around with color combinations using inks, or scribbling in various pens or even testing brushes on scraps of paper or canvas. Once I have practiced, I begin working. I don’t like to work using easels, so I simply lay my paper, canvas or panel flat on floor or table and work. As I’m working, my concept may change and that is perfectly fine. Often times, my work will come out completely different from what I had planned in my mind. If I begin to get frustrated, I will take a break and work on something else. My works of art are never truly finished, and often times I will return to a piece that I had worked on previously.

My process fluctuates between fluid and controlled. I feel as though I have a balance of both

2. Describe your artistic practice in three words.

My artistic practice can be described as therapeutic, fluid, and abstract.

3. Why do you make art?

I make art for several reasons. First, the physical act of making Art for me is at times relaxing and often a way to de-stress. Secondly, art is a way for me to organize my thoughts, or ideas and express them visually.

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Luisa Calcano “Guns Blazing” (2017), Acrylic ink, and fine point pen on Indian handmade paper, 8.5×11 in.

Like many others, I struggle to explain myself verbally at times and art allows for me to say what I need to say without having to actually say it. Lastly, I make art to stir up conversation. My art allows for an open dialogue between the viewer, myself and the work. I am very open to conversations about my work with anyone.

4. Where do you create art?

I feel most comfortable creating art where I can be alone. If I happen to find myself working around people, to give the illusion that I am alone I will play music as I work.

5. What does it mean to be an artist in the Bronx?

Being an artist in the Bronx and from the Bronx means being a part of the many creative communities here in New York. I feel very honored, and proud to be a practicing artist from the Bronx.

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Luisa Calcano “Pure Thought” (2017), Acrylic ink, and fine point pen on Indian handmade paper, 8.5 x 11 in.

6. How can people get in touch with you and see more of your works?

People are more likely to get in touch with me and see more of my work through my email (Luisacalcano23@gmail.com), my instagram account (@marialuisaart).

7. Who is your greatest inspiration?

My inspiration for the work I do stems from my personal experiences, observations, and books that I have read. However, my greatest inspirations are people such my mentors, family, friends and significant other.

Ellipsis: Pulitzer Arts Foundation

During my visit to St. Louis I had to visit the Pulitzer Arts Foundation!

Ellipsis (April 15 – July 2, 2016) was currently on view, and it was such an immersive experience! All of my senses were stimulated through taste, touch, look and listen. On view was one of my favorite artists of all time: Felix Gonzalez-Torres. His work stimulated my senses as the roomed glowed gold, and it is a special treat to be able to take a piece of candy to eat, which also keeps the work alive.

Spotlight Asia: Ring in the Year of the Monkey

Head to the American Museum of Natural History on February 21st at 12pm or 3pm for a free afternoon of programming to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Award-wining Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company rings in the Year of the Monkey, a year characterized by cleverness, curiosity, and playful mischief. The Museum’s Lunar New Year festival celebrates Asian art and culture through contemporary choreography, traditional storytelling, and hands-on activities taught by local artisans.

Watch Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company here: