May flowers? Yes, definitely into those. May bonsai? Even better!
West Seattle artist (and Click! paperwork-wrangler extraordinaire) Elyssa Cichy debuts her latest works during this month's virtual Art Walk. Her mixed media pieces bring the outside in and celebrate the centuries-old art of bonsai.
Each piece is a study in patience and process, not unlike the subject that she captures so perfectly. Drawings become woodburnings, which are then painted and detailed *just-so*.
The collection includes ready to hang original art panels, framed paintings, earrings and even kitchen tools. The full range of work is available online and on view in our store windows until we're able to re-open.
Further West Seattle Art Walk Virtual event details will be posted here when available.
How would you describe what you make?
I call this series “A Study of Bonsai”. I’ve been reading about and learning about the art of Bonsai since the Fall, and have dabbled in a few different mediums as I try to bring Bonsai trees to life in my own way. This series includes some close ups and some complete potted trees burned on wood panels or paper. Colored or highlighted with acrylics and watercolors.
Art is my version of self care, and bonsai trees are an art developed in Japan that represent caring for yourself by way of tending to and caring for something else. That really struck a chord with me, but as a truly atrocious gardener, I knew that to dabble in bonsai, I would have to create trees that I couldn’t easily kill.
What drew you to this medium and style of work?
I received my first wood burning tool as a child, and pulled it out randomly throughout my life to decorate jewelry boxes or toy chests. Slowly, this evolved into burning matryoshka dolls, and then wood panels that I stumbled upon during a West Seattle Summerfest. This latest series is my first time working with my burnings on hand made paper, and using watercolors. I’m having so much fun expanding my knowledge base and tools for creating more of the art I love.
Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?
My favorite piece is a little 6x6 bonsai, that is my interpretation of a Satsuki Azalea. It's so delicate and small. The bark and the leaves and the sky all turned out just as I had hoped!
At the moment, my studio is perfectly clean and utterly abandoned. With my 3 kids all home from school for the Spring, I’m doing art in my living room and dining room and the basement, and even the back porch… Usually to the melodic sounds of video games and children.
Is there an Easter egg in any of your pieces? A detail that you particularly love that others may overlook?
Not every piece, but every once in a while, I let my art go on and wrap around the sides and top and bottom of the wood panels. I love to see the branches snaking around the side or over the top. Kind of like they are too wild to be contained to the rectangle in which they reside.