I get enormous satisfaction from making work that conveys my thoughts and feelings more articulately than I can in words. I also feel happy, satisfied, grateful, and honored to have a job that I love; to come home from my studio every day, feeling as if I’ve done something meaningful.
Resa Blatman, March Artist of the Month
Resa Blatman is a Somerville-based artist. She is the recipient of several grants, and her work as been featured in numerous magazines and online journals-- most recently, a review of her two-person show, “Landscape Remade” at Northeastern University, in Big, Red & Shiny. She received her BFA in graphic design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she’s been teaching advanced level graphic design since 1997; she also holds an MFA in painting from Boston University.
What’s a brief overview of what you do?
I make large paintings on intricately designed, multi-layered, laser-cut surfaces. I also make small paintings on Mylar, paper, and wood panels.
Do you have a new project you’re working on, or an event that’s coming up?
I’m currently painting nature scenes that speak to environmental issues and how our thirst for fossil fuels affects our landscape and our natural resources. The laser-cut surfaces for these paintings are less ornate and the paintings themselves are darker; they include tornadoes and melting glaciers. This new body of work, and future work, will be on view in a solo exhibition at Tufts University’s Art Center, September through December, 2014. In the meantime, my painting “Tangled” will be on view at Wheaton College in the group show called “Drawing Out of Bounds” (February 27-April 13, 2013), and I’ll be participating in Somerville Open Studios on May 4th & 5th, 2013.
Why do you do what you do? What’s something you get out of it?
From the beginning, I was an artist/painter. I went to art colleges and pursued an artistic career (I have a degree in painting and graphic design). Working in a creative field is what comes naturally to me and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I love working with my hands and I enjoy the concentrated and dedicated time in my studio. Having a studio in a thriving artists’ building is very rewarding and important, especially when isolation sets in from working alone for so many hours. I feel lucky to have a studio at Vernon Street Studios, where I’ve made friends with the many hardworking and talented artists there.
What got you involved in doing what you do? Is there someone or something that was important in getting you on your way?
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it’s often a difficult and frustrating career path. It takes an enormous amount of persistence and self-discipline, and the monetary payback is quite small; it’s not the best career choice for everyone and many artists give it up to find other careers that they find satisfying. There is no one person who has given me a “big break.” In fact, any success that I have comes from a lifetime of experiences, hard work, smart choices, friends, connections, and good deeds. Although, there is someone important in my life and whom I’d like to thank, my husband Stefan Cooke, who has stood by me for 25 years never questioning my choice to be a full-time artist and always supportive of me and my work.
Any thoughts on the local Somerville, or Boston area creative scene?
As many people have commented, Boston’s art scene lives in the shadow of New York’s, but I do think it’s slowly changing. I’d love to see Boston with a gallery area three times the size of the one we currently have, and that could happen someday, if and when folks feel the urgency to come here to buy the local artwork, which is truly phenomenal!
I love Somerville. My husband and I have lived here since 1988, when it was quite different. We thought of leaving several times, but I’m very glad that we hung in and made Somerville our home. The energy here, and the art scene, is fantastic! The Somerville Arts Council and Mayor Curtatone have done a tremendous job putting this city on the map and making it a lively, artistic community. While Boston has the museums and galleries, I do think Boston could learn something from Somerville; how to manifest a hot, diversely cultural energy with an eager community and a small budget. I hope we can keep Somerville as it is now; vibrant and happy, and not let the chain stores and innumerable condos swallow up Somerville’s hard-earned character.
Finally, a big welcome to the Nave Annex, which is our newest and only gallery in Davis Square — opening night (January 25th) had 300 folks coming to the gallery, many of whom waited in line in the frigid weather to get in, just to see artwork! That tells me we absolutely need more art galleries in Somerville!