Lindsay Rapp Interview
By Elizabeth Palisin
When looking at Lindsay Rapp's pieces it's clear to see that mystical, magical, underwater whimsy comes naturally to her. Creating multi-media experiences that empower and excite, she delves into ocean mythology in new and invigorating ways. Her experiences growing up on the beach in Clearwater, Florida feature heavily in her pieces. The sensuality of the sea is captured in her brushstrokes and the interaction between light and the ocean is executed flawlessly.
The Philadelphia-based artist is not only a breath of fresh sea air and free spiritedness, she also is a business woman who opened her own gallery in 2015.
How did you begin in the art world? What are your inspirations for creating these amazing pieces?
I have always been involved with art since a very young age- it is my passion. I have been lucky to have supportive parents that allowed me to follow my dreams. I used to paint in my garage and allow the ocean to inspire the works that I created. I use real abalone shells and 24 karat gold sheets, paua shell, and other multimedia to create texture, light fracture and life. I intertwine these elements with oil and acrylic paints to create emotion and movement. I am always learning from my surroundings.
I like to think that everything happens for a reason and that eventually those reasons are for the greater good. I have gone through so many phases in my painting career. As a child, I would draw what I wished was real - it was my imaginative outlet. As I started studying art academically, I created artwork for my teachers - it was more about technical skill, learning, and accomplishing assigned goals in the artwork. Finally, by my third year of college, it was required for students to come up with their own artwork and to be critiqued. The critics favored the more moody, darker art; so I had a period in college where I would paint in darker colors and black and white.
Since being out of academia, I found myself standing in front of the easel realizing that I could let my imagination run free again without caring about my audience being teachers, critics, or grades. I could paint for my own pleasure. I think this is where I truly found myself & let my imagination blossom; everything I have ever learned was mixed like a potion with who I am as a person along with the freedom to express myself however I want. The phase I am experiencing currently is my favorite phase, full of magic, beauty, blues, elated emotions, and oceanic fluidity.
Who are some of your influences?
I have many influences for my work including Peter Sargent and Degas. I like impressionism in art and also the use of thick paints and colors. I like more contemporary artists as well and I often find inspiration in their pieces. I love emotive and figurative work.
How do muses play a part in your artwork?
I like to relate the beauty of the ocean to these classical ideas of feminine muses. To me, the ocean is very human; I see it as feminine, expressive and sensual. I see emotional energy in the way the ocean fluctuates and flows. The ocean takes on very feminine characteristics in my eyes - the way it flows, how soft it can be, how sensual its movements are [and] it's glowing, mysterious aesthetic. I love comparing the different aspects of water to similar aspects of what it feels like to identify as a woman.
What would you tell young artists who are just getting started?
I would advise to:
- Experiment whenever possible.
- Look at artwork by other artists for inspiration.
- Find favorite artists to have as a living example of achievable goals and inspiration.
- Learn about self expression, articulate what draws you to artwork's aesthetic & emotions.
- Continue to fuel your inspiration.
- Learn art history because knowledge is power.
- Learn about contemporary art and have appreciation and respect for artwork that isn't your own taste.
- Build your resume with your career in mind.
- Stay committed, don't ever give up, make appointments for yourself to create artwork even when you don't feel inspired. Inspiration is rare, you may as well be creating art when it finally strikes.
- Build your technical knowledge, memorize the list of artistic elements and artistic principles.
- Take classes. Always seek to learn from new perspectives.
- Exposure is important. Create a website, Facebook page, Instagram, anything to get yourself accessible and seen.
- Make prints and giclees. A great way to be more accessible to more people is to sell reproductions.
- Learn about art business. This is something that art school doesn't teach! Try to learn as much as you can, and don't be afraid to create your own path, as there is no one way to do anything.
- Always create artwork, never lose heart, never stop, and always believe in yourself no matter what anyone says to you! At the end of the day it's all about you, your passion, and your heart.
What is your process like?
It is an ongoing process of building, breaking down, and then building to new heights. I started at a very young age, using art as an outlet for my creativity, and it has built since then. I studied art in school and was very interested in the psychology behind art as well. I felt so fortunate to have this balance of people and perspectives with these different schools that I attended. I love that art allows me to express myself the way that I want to and allows me to delve deeper into creativity.
First and foremost, art is all about expression; but, to express yourself in an effective way, calls for theory, concept, and technique. None should stand all on its own - all three give strength to a piece of work.
How does emotion feature in your work? How do you create an emotional response with your art?
Through my artwork, I try to create a window into a magical place; a special moment of emotional elation. While painting, I imagine creating a current as my paint brush moves across the surface. I channel my feelings into each gestural brushstroke. I strive to create emotions through: dynamic compositions, expressive paint application, a mood of a palette, an emotion in a person's stance or deep within their eyes, a narrative behind an image, the feeling of wanting to be somewhere like an escape or a dream, the association or symbolic value of an object, a beautiful narrative story, a spiritual elated rush.
You have your own gallery, can you tell me more about that?
Yes! It is great. I was searching for a space in Philadelphia and my parents suggested that I get a studio space that I could also make into a gallery. The idea was so exciting, so I decided to pursue it! I have absolutely loved pouring my heart and soul into the gallery and meeting all the wonderful people that frequent it. I love experiencing the reactions to my work in real time and painting out of my own space.
What would you say to a young artist who is thinking about opening a gallery?
Don't be afraid to make mistakes; believe in yourself and keep moving forward taking each task one step at a time! :)
Do you have any upcoming shows or exhibits?
I always have a show at Lindsay Rapp Gallery every first Friday of every month and anyone is welcome to stop by and see me there.
For further information visit: LindsayRappGallery.com.
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