Artist Statement and Bio
I like shiny. Bold colors and sparkle make me happy. Mosaic, with its complexity of multiple bits and pieces, its light-gathering myriad of facets and textures, and its ever-changing sparkle of iridescent colors and shine is emotionally up-lifting and spiritually recharging. The versatility and almost unlimited creative possibilities of the medium of mosaic gives me the freedom to explore a turbulent time in my life. It’s as if the art is pent-up inside of me. It needs to get out, but the clock is ticking...literally.
I have been fighting Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer(which means that it is incurable and terminal) since 2011. I have had more than 150 chemotherapy treatments, multiple surgeries and radiation. Sometimes, I sport a cute, little Jaime Lee Curtis look—other times, it’s more like Yul Brenner or E.T. Each day, I fight to push past the gory details and through the ever-present fatigue to retain a sense of normality, to have a purpose and a goal, and to let the art out! My motto is Carpe Diem! – (Seize the Day), and it is a good day when I can piece in parts of a legacy and end up with something in my hand besides the TV remote.
Art is a form of communication between the artist and the viewer. As much as I do not want to be defined by my breast cancer, it is now intrinsically intertwined in my persona and affects every aspect of my life and art. I use a lot of symbolism in my work. Objects and colors convey emotions, concepts, and passions. And of course, there’s always a bit of glitz, because sparkle and shiny make me happy.
The dawning of the Hippie era opened a small window of freedom for women, and at age 17, I dove through it and never looked back. I proceeded to hitchhike around the globe for the next five years. I thumbed through Mexico, Europe, the Canary Islands, and Africa, and island-hopped the South Pacific. Forty-five years ago, I crossed the-then road-less Sahara Desert perched on top of a date truck (during Ramadan of course). Now, I can tell my children that I have been to Kalamazoo and Timbuktu! I spent a total of three years in Africa and speak Spanish and French, as well as a smattering of Arabic, Wolof (the trade language of West Africa), German, Italian, and Swahili.
The world is a fascinating place. I love everything about it—its vibrant colors, beauty, art, geology, weather, architecture, and history, and of course its people—its people with all their diversity, energy, culture, foibles, quirks, and art and color all of their own. I specifically love art—from the Grand Masters in the hallowed European museums to the faded petroglyphs of the Anasazi, eloquent in their utter simplicity. Art is Man's attempt to portray and communicate the profundity of life experiences. Everything about it interests me, but particularly colors, composition, and light. The juxtaposition and balance of shadows and light, mass and sky, and Nature’s infinite play of textures, patterns, and shapes never ceases to appeal to my senses. In my traveling and Mammoth Lakes days, I was called “Patty the Photographer.” My trusty Nikon camera was my constant companion. Strong compositions, interesting lighting, and bold colors characterized my photography. Then, Kodachrome went away and computerized imaging became all the rage. I may have joined that migration, but I gave birth to two kids that year, and when I lifted my head from the chaos, the digital revolution had passed me by…..
I opened "Gallery in the Pines" and did custom matting and framing for 15 years in Mammoth Lakes, CA, and then moved with my husband (Freeland Chew) to the state of Virginia, where I re-established the gallery in a picturesque, rustic barn on our property. As a child, I had watched my grandmother make beach glass and pebble mosaics for her garden. I introduced my children to the medium, and we happily home-schooled and made birdhouse and flower pot crafts for many years. Now, my oldest daughter, Kelsey, is an RN in the Emergency Dept. in Roanoke, VA and doing BSN courses. My younger daughter, Kylie, (who went off to college at 14), has a PhD from Johns Hopkins and is currently in a post-doctoral research position at Stanford University in California -- all at the ripe old age of 24. After the kids grew up, repetitive crafts no longer satisfied me. I started designing mosaic panels that reflect my life experiences and emotions using bits and pieces like those that have shaped and created the individual that is uniquely me.
"Pieces in Place" - An Article about the Artist: