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About Cindy PressAt first glance, the paintings by American artist Cindy Press look like photographs. Upon closer inspection, the fine brushstrokes and hand-painted shadows become visible. The black-and-white color scheme is a production of reduction that focuses our attention on the essential: the muses’ sensual expressions and auras. They appear rebellious, seductive, or slightly melancholy, but always strong
BACKGROUND INFORMATIONAt first glance, the paintings by American artist Cindy Press look like photographs. Upon closer inspection, the fine brushstrokes and hand-painted shadows become visible. The black-and-white color scheme is a production of reduction that focuses our attention on the essential: the muses’ sensual expressions and auras. They appear rebellious, seductive, or slightly melancholy, but always strong and self-confident.
The pieces remind us of fashion photography’s visual vocabulary, which reflects the artist’s background. Press has enjoyed a successful career as a designer. She now finds inspiration for her paintings in fashion magazines and editorials. She also draws on her own experiences and on the idea that: “There is so much more behind a person’s appearance.”
VITACindy Press was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and has a BFA in Fashion Illustration from Moore College of Art and Design. Her paintings and drawings have been in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States, including New York’s The Other Art Fair. Press lives and works in White Planes, New York.
INTERVIEWWhen did you become interested in art? How did it all begin?
As long as I can remember I have only been interested in art. I began drawing when I was a young child and I always knew I would do something with art in my life. I began my career in fashion as an art assistant and designer. I retired from my fashion career to stay home and raise my 2 daughters. Once they were older I transitioned into my painting practice which has always been my first love and ever since I have been a full time professional artist.
How would you describe your work process?
My oil paintings are planned in detail before my paint brush ever touches the canvas. I start by using photographs that I’ve taken or found and combining them with concepts from my imagination. I used to do a drawing on paper as a preliminary reference for a painting but now I use my ipad and do digital drawings. Once those drawings are created I use them for the reference for my final painting.
Who inspires you?
I am very inspired by fashion photography, famous photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Ellen Von Unwerth, Helmut Newton to name just a few. My work is photorealistic and often confused for being a photograph, this is not really intentional but just the result of how I see and translate images onto canvas.
Which artists/works of art are you particularly impressed with at the moment? I am most impressed by contemporary artists that work very differently from me like Malcolm Leipke who also does figurative oil paintings but uses lush colors and paint strokes or digital artists like KangHee Kim (@tinycactus on Instagram) who uses photoshop to combine and transform everyday images.
What distinguishes a good work of art?
I think everyone would answer that question differently. For me it needs to have a good composition, good use of color and make sense. There’s a lot of art out there today, if I see something that looks like no thought process was put into it I am not interested.
What project are you working on at the moment? I am working on a series that is less portrait oriented and focuses more on details of the female figure, leaving more to the imagination of the viewer.
What is the purpose of art?
I believe the purpose of art is to document the time we are living in and create a sense of how the world and society are for future generations. I don’t think this needs to be a conscious decision of the artist but just by existing during a certain time period the artwork will communicate what the world was like.
Does art bring about happiness? YES! Even if you don’t like a piece of art, just by having a feeling about it and giving you a reason to think and make your brain work brings happiness and fulfillment to life!