Artist Elaine Alibrandi presents her mixed media work. We interviewed her about the process of becoming, and working, as an artist.
ABI: How did you turn a “straight job” opportunity into your own creative business?
EA: After graduating from Massachusetts College of Art, I needed to support myself, so I took a corporate job, which was not where I was meant to be. My art was not progressing, and as for my poetry, I would jot down ideas for poems and hide them under the phone in my office. I knew I had to find more time to create. However, in order to keep my art from being compromised by the need to make a living, income from something I could do at home—where my studio is located—was necessary.
I left the corporate world and, for a while, I did copy editing at various design firms, which gave me opportunities to write commercially and even design. Then, the Internet came along, and with a computer and a printer, I began a copy editing/writing/design business whereby I can make my own hours and create whenever and whatever I want.
It’s worked out perfectly for me in every way. I live, breathe, eat, and dream art rather than snatching precious minutes or hours here and there to try to develop and follow where my ideas lead. Moreover, I can experiment and explore in my art without worrying about whether or not it will sell.
ABI: How do you combine your poetry with visual art?
EA: Just as I have always created visual art, I’ve always written poetry; each informs the other. I might create a visual piece that inspires a poem, or I may write a poem about my frustration in realizing a particular work. There is fluidity between my art and my poetry; they both arise from the same place of creativity within me but are simply different ways of extracting it. Sometimes words work better, while at other times, a visual statement is more appropriate, but the mode of expression is not a conscious decision on my part.
ABI: What is the concept behind your mixed media art?
EA: I used to create art exclusively with oil paint. Eventually, however, I found that paint alone did not suffice to bring the textures and luscious thing-ness I wanted to convey, so I began using objects I found in nature and elsewhere to express my ideas, and the inspiration and possibilities for my work became limitless.
I want people to see things that are often overlooked, to be fascinated by ordinary objects in nature, things they may walk by every day but not notice. Some of my work is manipulated in order to inspire others to think of, say, trees differently, to look closely at the miraculous beauty of a stone or a leaf.
These are a part of life that should not be ignored or taken for granted; these are things that enrich life, and I want others to look at them mindfully, despite the plethora of distractions that keep people from wonderment and gratitude for things freely placed in our paths.