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Meet Linda Chappel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Linda Chappel.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Currently, I am a full-time Visual Arts instructor at Tohono O’ Odham Community College teaching a range of studio courses and Art History courses. My studio practice focuses on painting in a variety of media including encaustic, oil, acrylic with collage and watercolor. Sculpture and 3-d treatment of the painting surface is a persistent theme in my artwork. I received a B.A. in Fine arts from Madison Wisconsin in 1986 focusing on sculpture and a Master’s degree in Art History from the University of Arizona in 1995 with an emphasis on Mexican Art History. I have maintained a studio practice and show work regularly in Tucson since moving here in the early 1990’s.

My primary concern is addressing the relationship between humans, the land, and animals. I rely on a variety of media to create a direct and tactile relationship with the art object.

Please tell us about your art.
I see art as one way to understand the relationship between humans and the earth. Our intrinsic and complicated connections to the wider community of animals and to the landscape are the center of my art work. By layering symbols my art records my understanding of these connections. I am also interested in the persistence and interplay of visual symbols from various cultures and across time. The use of expressive line and color draws the attention to the importance of the physical and tactile nature of creating art. Symbolic use of colors, shapes and animal forms dominate my image construction. Using encaustics, oil and collage allow me to layer ideas through physically layering images. The physical presence of the art is an important part of the process and each of these materials allows me to leave traces of my physical interaction with the art.

Ultimately, I am interested in the art object and to inspire others to contemplate the importance of understanding our relationship to the earth in contemporary society.

Art is a means through which cultures mediate their relationship with the natural world. My interest in these myths includes local indigenous myths as well as myths from the Eastern and Western traditions. Each body of myths addresses our relationship with the forces beyond us, and we continually produce myths. My art is an attempt to bring this forward to create allegories which focus on our current relationship to nature. I often use animal forms and symbols, which appear repeatedly throughout a number of cultures; there is an overlay and intersections of cultures as they combine and reform their myths.

Although the current of the discussion of the environment focuses on what is happening now – my work is an attempt to connect with the past. Our current environmental concerns are not unique.

As an art historian, I have an ongoing visual dialogue with the past both consciously and unconsciously. My art attempts to find a path through the present by learning from how humans have grappled with their relationship to nature in the past. The Mesolithic was a shift in a climate whose effect can clearly be viewed through the lens of art history. And throughout history localized environmental changes have often forced cultures to transform. Numerous art styles and traditions influence my work; what draws me is the immediate direct work with media that in the tradition of animism binds energy to the object. The process of creating each object is a record and a means to connect and communicate with the viewer and the past.

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I think the changes in the gallery system and the on-line sales have been both the most changing and offer greater opportunity for contemporary artists. I think the oppertunities are great but as always artists struggle with finical support in our society.

Cities who support the arts through offering venues, supporting “art walks” and “open studio tours” have a positive influence by making the public more aware and offering everyone the opportunity to enjoy the arts. Art can make a community thrive; by offering ideas, physical beauty and a sense of connection to place and to each other.

Monitory support is important but so is offering artists spaces to work and show their art; I believe offering opportunity to connect to the community is key.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I currently show my work at my studio, Casa de Sueno (by appointment) and I show at numerous venues in Tucson and regionally.

People can see my work on my web page and on my Facebook page “Linda Chappel, Artist”. I will announce upcoming shows on my Facebook page and I encourage you to “follow” me if you are interested in seeing my artwork as it progresses.

As a working studio artist, I encourage viewers to visit my studio either by appointment or during Open Studio Tours held here in Tucson, both in the spring or fall.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Linda Chappel

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