|Artist, Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
You work in many different mediums. Do you have a favorite and if so why?
I work in so many different mediums because of changes that have happened in my life, with my health and with companies that I work or have worked with. I started out in oils, which I completely love more than any medium, which at the time was for fine art galleries and breaking into book covers, but quit using them when I had my daughter (now grown) because they are so toxic to me. I tried the “water oils’ and they don’t have the same flow and recently because of all the art fumes I have been around in my life, I have asthma. I have done a lot of pen & ink for illustrations inside magazines and books and colored pencil and watercolor pencil as well. Now my left hand wrist is showing the wear and tear. Next was watercolor, with or without pen & ink and my neck, arms and back don’t like all of the sitting and tedious work. Why can’t I do easy stuff, repeat, nope, never will…lol.
|Waves of Hope by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
I love all mediums, but after finishing the last few watercolors that I have already inked, I am most likely turning to acrylics, standing up to paint at easel, no fumes, dries quick, not hard on my body, plus I get bored with a medium and I’m ready for a change. I may return to my beloved oils, most likely, when I have mastered the computer concerning digital art and if I can figure out a way to draw and paint on tablet that is upright.
|Unicorn Moon Magic by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
Do you sketch or paint everyday?
No sadly at this point. For now life has only so many hours in the day and I am fifty something, a wife, mother, grandma, have aging parents, my brother is very sick and I travel every two weeks. Does thinking about painting count…lol. I try everyday, but it has to be planned, I do all of the business part of the art and work with different companies. I haven’t felt well for the last year and am working on my health, which is coming back. I started doodling lately, if just for five minutes. When I paint, I paint for six to ten hours nonstop and a painting takes up to 20 hours or more because of the detail. So I am still in the process of figuring out how to create everyday and still do all the rest. I’m looking at an agent, an art coach or finding a small group of artists who are serious about making a living and we all put in the work to help each other to go to shows, advertise, etc. I had that twice before and it worked well for everyone.
|Light Bearer by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
Out of all your creations, how many make it to sale?
They all make it to sale. Are they all great, no…probably about eight out of ten. That’s around the average of most professionals. If they don’t sell, then I retire them. I always trust the public. If I hate it, the public usually loves it. Concerning new art, you have seen very little over the past three years. I’ve been painting, just not sharing or showing. Creating just for me. I was beyond burnt out from overworking, the fame, the deadlines, my hubby, people that I had allowed in my life that weren’t good for me, family members sick and some died, the economy falling out, losing my home, my husband being unemployed for a short while and my health was failing. I had been naive, always been Susie Sunshine with the glass half full and could do anything I set my mind to. I had never been depressed ever and when everything hit me in such a short amount of time, I became deeply depressed, along with other health issues and thought I could cure it on my own. I had to learn you can’t. I had to learn that forcing myself to swim upstream, instead of going with the flow, will land you at the bottom of the river… Mentally, emotionally and physically I had to step away to heal. The perfect storm hit me, I didn’t see it coming and it took me a long time to recover with the help of my family doctor, family and friends. I was presented with many life lessons I had to heal from, that I never want to learn again, but I’m thankful for because I’m stronger and a survivor. Life is a gift everyday. My art is also a gift to myself and to others. I am finally ready to return to the art world and going for the next chapter.
|Winter Faery by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
You are a strong advocate for art education and have worked with many teachers and students. Would you tell us a little about your work with them?
I believe that every child needs art in their lives, whether it be art, dance, music, poetry, or acting. I believe that a student can not problem-solve without it. I also believe that they need physical education for their bodies and the core subjects like math, reading, science, etc. for their minds. I don’t have a degree in teaching, but the states in the USA of New Mexico and Nevada, through the NEA and other programs had myself and other artists, help teachers to bring art into the classroom through art residencies. In Silver City, New Mexico, where I was raised, the arts were taken out of the schools for about ten years because of cutbacks on funding. One mother, my boss, Debbie Siebel proceeded to get the arts in all elementary’s by funding for art residencies and it became a model for the nation and has spread to many states. At first, I didn’t want to teach because I didn’t know how to do a lesson plan, I might mess up, and I don’t have a teaching degree. Another artist called me on it and told me how dare I kept my talent from the kids. Truth was in his words and I put on my big girl panties, learned how to do lesson plans and worked with K – 5th, over 3,200 students in a period of three years at four elementary’s. In Nevada I worked with teachers instead of the students. I left this in 2002 to concentrate full time on my art.
|Water Wizard by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
I know that not all students learn by reading and so do the your children’s schools and teachers. Some learn by hearing, some by seeing, some by doing. I will be teaching again through a program that is being developed for the schools, but also independent of the schools, but this time through a major company that has a product, working through another major company to distribute. They have been working with me for over two years on just development and I will let you know when they go forward. Come on economy! Sorry for being elusive…but remembering when I had a How to Draw Dragon book deal, and it was shelved, even though I was paid, because of the economy. Lesson learned: scream it from the roof tops only when it is in the marketplace…lol.
Your paintings are filled with mythological and fantasy creatures. Where and when did your love to portray them begin?
I was born an artist. I’ve always know that’s what I would be. My Mom taught me to color outside the lines and my Dad took me to every art event that happened. My love for fantasy came from watching the Flintstone cartoon. That purple dinosaur to me, needed wings. I have always loved ancient history and cultures, so when my 2nd grade class learned about mythological stories and the fantasy creatures, I was hooked. Also I had a very smart teacher. If you finished your work, you could do a puzzle or draw. I drew all of those myths. My 3rd grade teacher was also extremely important. If we all finished our work and had A’s or B’s, we spent every afternoon doing art projects. Unicorns and Pegasus…my family had horses when I was growing up, mine just needed a horns and wings..Dragons, I’m not sure. I’ve always needed to draw them and maybe someday I will know why. Faery’s…I love dusk, twilight, the in-between-time. Not day, but not yet night. This is where my mind wanders to.
|Summer Winds Celtic Dragon by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
Do you have a favorite out of all that you have created?
I have three favorites. First is “Spring Faery…Giver of Life”. My daughter was the model with my grandson in her belly, two days before he was born. Also because it is for all Mom’s since the beginning of Mom’s. The mobile represents the Moon, Stars, and the Sun…what you want to give to your child, but cannot. The key dangling from the bracelet on her wrist represents that all you can do as a Mom, is give your child the keys to life and set them free on their journey. Most of my work has a lot of hidden meaning in it.
|Spring Faery Giver of Life by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
|Mermaid Moon Rising by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
The third is “Faery Kiss of the Unicorn”. The faery, unicorn and dragon represent my love of animals and nature. The faery model was my daughter and she hated it when I had her posing to kiss a stuffed animal outside of Las Vegas, up at MT Charleston with tourists passing by…ha, ha, ha…its great to be a Mom. The Unicorn was my beloved fluffy, long haired Tigur Cat, 17 years young who passed away this year, and the little green dragon is my other cat, La Lay Ratnip who puts all the cat hair on all my art supplies because she is so curious and always into everything. The art work represents anyone’s family. As you can see I am a storyteller as well as a painter, something that I will combine a lot more of in my upcoming new watercolor or acrylic paintings.
|Faery Kiss of The Unicorn by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
You have inspired many artists, who inspires you?
Aawww, thank you! I never know if I inspire anyone. To those of you I have inspired, you have made my day!
I am inspired by so many artists, from beginning to professional, all the way back through history, in so many mediums and not just in the fantasy genre, plus anything Celtic. I love ancient works from all over the world. Most are unknown artist’s that have long since passed and their work has been dug up and been put in museums. More include: The Pre-Raphael, Dix Vinci, children’s book illustrators; David Christiana, P.J. Lynch, James Christensen, and Ruth Sanderson, Lesley Anne Ivory’s cat, fine artist Daniel Merriam, and in our genre; Linda Ravenscroft, Courtney Davis, John Howe, Larry Elmore, anyone who had anything to do with The Lord of the Rings, the Frouds, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Garry Lippincott, Francine Dufour Jones, with her colorful silks, Rhonda Napoleon for her digital skills in her Beyond Fantasy Magazine, a lot of you newbies working in original mediums and digital art in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi forum group, some of the children I have taught and too many more to list. If a drawing, painting or sculpture is well done or Original, I stare in awe and feel blessed that I have seen the work and I have felt something from it. This is something I aspire to when I create. Those artists inspire me to go and create my own art and to never quit learning.
|Feisty by Vicki Visconti-Tilley|
What do you enjoy doing when you are not painting?
Going 4-wheeling with my Mom and Dad, camping or hotels, anything with my daughter, grandson, hubby or cats, being in nature, being still, and traveling, all of which I do a lot of.
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Drop by every Friday to meet more fabulous artists. Next week I’ll be featuring artist, Jessica Morgan.