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April Featured Artist: Salyna Gracie


We are excited to show our April featured artist: Salyna Gracie.  We asked her to answer some questions so we could learn more. 


How would you describe what you make?

I am a mixed media encaustic artist who explores themes of identity, memory, legacy and inheritance through the layering of materials. Maps are often a recurring element in my work illustrating the Greek concept of Sympatheia, the idea that all life is reunited with the Earth and we are all part of the same energy. My art is an internal navigation through the dreamscapes of life.

My recent collection of poisonous botanical paintings are created with layers of encaustic, charcoal illustrations, pigments and paints on birch panel. They provide a view into the universe as a unified living organism endlessly created anew from a generative and regenerative source.


Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?

My favorite piece in the Deadly Beauty collection is the Peyote Cactus that started me down the rabbit hole of this series. Contemplating the plant in the sunny window of my studio, I started thinking about the amazing power of plants to heal or harm us. In the right dose at the right time this cactus offers spiritual insight to those that use it as medicine, yet, it is viewed as a poisonous illegal drug to some. I am continually fascinated by that magnetic edge between death and enlightenment.

If you could collaborate with anyone (living or not), who would it be and why?

If I could dream of collaborating with one artist it would likely be Joseph Cornell. I am drawn to his layering of everyday items to capture memory and legacy. His assemblage work tells stories that are personally compelling and ultimately point to our universal experience. I love art that helps us to understand at a deeper level who we really are and gives a viewer context for the practical and mystical signs and symbols of a life lived from the soul.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

As an artist the best advice I was given was to make what I want and not try to fit into a selling marketplace or fall prey to the opinions of others. When you make what you love that passion comes through in the work and everything else falls into place.

When you are in the studio, what are you listening to?

Occasionally I will listen to podcasts while working, but, most of the time I need music to fuel my creativity. I like to listen to soundscapes that are musically complex and full of texture. My studio soundtrack is often Mazzy Star, Vas, Niyaz, Sky Cries Mary, Radiohead, Stellamara, Agnes Obel and lots of Turkish Sufi ilahis ( a type of devotional music).

What is your most treasured handmade possession?

I have so many beautiful handmade possessions that I live with and am inspired by each day, but, if I have to pick the most treasured it would be a hand-bound book I made a few years ago. The book is hand-stitched and beaded with the tree of life image and it holds a whole year of my poetry. The book is a memory-keeper of experiences during a pivotal year of my life as an artist and the poems I wrote during those formative months.


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