Featured artist Terry Lamacchia talks about her innovative incorporation of digital photography and acrylic paint. Read our interview to learn about her inspirations, creative process, and more!
When did art become a pursuit for you?
I began my senior year of high school fully expecting to become an English teacher after college. I took an art class that year and, thanks to my art teacher Mr. Fortune, was swept off my feet into the Parisian art world of Impressionism and Post Impressionism, Picasso and Matisse, and so much more. By November I decided to switch majors and have never regretted it.
What is your favorite memory at ArtsWorcester?
While I have many good memories since becoming an ArtsWorcester member, my favorite is receiving a Material Needs Grant and attending the opening reception of the exhibit in Sept. 2019. It was the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and it was exciting to see it hung in the new gallery space with all of the other grant recipients.The opening was packed with people, family and friends were there and the feedback I received was enthusiastic.
What medium do you currently work in, and how did you choose this medium?
I currently work in a combination of acrylic paint, digital photography, oil sticks with occasional collage elements added. I’ve worked with acrylic paint, printmaking and collage for many years. Incorporating digital photos printed on canvas grew out a need for better quality photo imagery than what I had been doing, which was printing on paper and gluing it onto the paintings. When I saw the possibilities with size and vivid color, I knew it was what I needed.
What is your creative process?
I start with photographs, shot and edited to near abstraction on my iPhone. They are then printed on canvas. I spend a few days walking by the canvases, stopping to think, getting to know the image. Enlarging the image to 30″x 40″ or more changes it a lot. The photos always have structural elements in them which allows me to break up the space in interesting ways, especially if I add an additional canvas to the piece. Once I’ve gotten a sense of where I’m going and what the image is saying to me, I start reinforcing the structure with more lines and block out colors on the photo itself or a second blank canvas. Then the painting keeps developing and the photo and paint develop a dialogue.
How do you choose your subject matter? Are there themes that recur throughout your work?
My recently completed Drive series grew out of many, many rides on the NYS Thruway and Mass Pike while moving from upstate New York back to Massachusetts. I didn’t want to be idle while a passenger, so I began shooting photos of the bridges, roads, guard rails over the Hudson River and the Mass. Pike. Because I’ve always liked using structural elements and symbols like arrows in my paintings, using imagery taken while on highways was natural. While doing the Drive series, shadow imagery appears in a few paintings and because I liked the quirky, mysterious nature of them, I decided that shadows would be the central idea of the new series.
What other media or directions would you like to explore?
I’m very interested in seeing how far I can push the combination of digital imagery and paint as far as format and technique is concerned.