Today we’d like to introduce you to Ciara Barsotti.
Ciara, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in the California Valley and was homeschooled as a young child, which gave me ample opportunity to explore the creeks and meadows near my home and imagine and invent all kinds of worlds and characters in my drawings. Growing up, my two loves in genre were Western and Sci-Fi. As a girl it was all horses all the time in my art; as a teenager I switched to sci-fi and comic book illustration. Now, in my late 20s, I’ve found a way to combine the two in my “Space Cowgirls” series.
My family history has had an influence on my work as well. On a plein air (outdoors and on-site) painting trip to the National Parks in Southern Utah I discovered a deep love for the red rocks and big skies of the Southwest, and later rediscovered my Great Grandma Helen’s work in the same subject matter. She lived and raised her family on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and loved to paint those landscapes as well. I have several of her paintings and even discovered two canvas boards with sketches by her left unfinished, which I took and painted using her original compositions and incorporated into my series.
Now I live in Virginia with my husband who teaches mathematics at the College of William & Mary, and while I love the Blue Ridge Mountains in my state, the red rocks and big skies of the Southwest will always be in my blood. It’s my dream to return to them someday soon.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My current series is done with acrylic paints on canvas with paper embellishments. I discovered acrylics after taking a class at a local community college on the California coast and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to watercolors and colored pencils (which I still use and love). I adore the size and scale that’s achievable with acrylic paint on canvas, and I’m a glutton for color.
The “Space Cowgirls” series utilizes all of my loves in genre: the landscape of the Old West and the futurism of Science Fiction. The first images were inspired by music and meditation, and the series has really taken on a life of its own at this point. The main thesis of this work is conservation. My thought is that these space girls are interdimensional, or time travelers, from a future where Earth has been ravaged by humanity. They’re visiting the National Parks and landscapes in a time when they were worth visiting. It’s a warning to all of us that we need to continue to make strides in protecting this planet that has so much to offer us if we return the favor by taking good care of it.
The Domes and UFOs that you see in my work are based on a pet theory of mine (shared by many other weirdos like me) that we are not alone in this Universe and the possibility that we are not the first sentient beings to arrive on the planet either. There’s a lot that we still can’t explain about our world despite the technologies and discoveries we’ve achieved as a species. It’s humbling to acknowledge how little we really know about where we live and where we’ve come from, but I think it’s important to move into the future with that humility and openness.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
I cannot recommend therapy enough to everyone on the planet, artist or not. Even if you think you’ve got life figured out, talking through your issues with another person that you trust (this doesn’t even have to be a professional, just a good listener) is invaluable for progress in your work. For me, this meant getting out of my own head long enough to start making the work. Everyone has the same advice, and it’s true: just keep making the work. Even if it’s crap, even if you hate it, you still have to wade through it to get to the good stuff. And it won’t always be good, you’ll never “arrive,” but that just means your work will keep getting better and better as you go.
Another piece of advice which I think is extremely important: you will have to redefine success for yourself. Very few artists get to quit their day jobs, and even fewer make any significant amount of money at it. I’m still working a job and painting when I can, even though I dream of spending all day every day in the studio (which is just a second bedroom in my apartment that doubles as a guest room). Be intentional about checking in with yourself about how you are going to define success for yourself. If you lose sight of that you’ll be entering a world of angst, which is not a good place to be creatively. Bottom line: keep doing the work, and take good care of your whole self.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is in private collections around the world, but I am always creating new pieces and having new shows. The best way to keep up with what I’m currently making and what is available is to follow me on Instagram @ciarabarsotti. You can also support my work at Patreon.com/Ciara, where I regularly share more in-depth behind-the-scenes videos and posts.
- Website: http://www.ciarabarsotti.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ciarabarsotti
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ciarabarsottiart
- Other: http://www.ciarabarsottiart.etsy.com