Meet Bobbi Beck — our latest artist on exhibit at Mulberry Street Library through October 27. 2012. She has already exhibited at several other branches of the New York Public Library, and has always found libraries to be a welcoming refuge and source of inspiration for her work.
These drawings are autobiographical and reflect her day-to-day observations and feelings. They convey her emotional and visual renderings of humor, love, gender conflicts, marriage, family, health, joy and sorrow, anguish and global issues.
SistersMost of her drawings contain a symbolic triangle. Women, nature and technology. Women are usually the core element, combined with her lifetime interest in nature, and then integrated with machines and technology. Her human forms morph into plants, decorative elements, household objects, symbols, animals and whatever interests her at that time. The drawings contain many mysterious symbols and icons, some obvious, some secret in source and expression.
When did you first become interested in art?
As a young child my parents always said "I had a bad case of overactive imagination." I guess I never grew out of it. As far back as I can recall, I always expressed and conveyed my feelings through my artwork.
Bobbi Beck in her Studio
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Artists and my favorite works of theirs would be Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, Picasso's Guernica, and Henri Rousseau's The Dream. I love Van Gogh for his expression of emotion, Lautrec for his line work, Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau decorative arts and architecture.
My favorite art periods are the Surrealist Movement, and the Medieval era for its narrative art and Baroque ornamentation. I am fascinated by mythology of all periods and cultures. Favorite books and films include The Wizard of Oz, Ridley Scott's Alien, and To Kill a Mockingbird, in all of these women have journeyed through perilous situations as narrators/heroines.
Also, I was always entranced and wowed by Fellini's images, costumes and sets. I love The Muppets for their humor, forms, animated movements and gestures. Finally, my teen obsession with '60s Love Comics keeps popping up in my drawings.
What is the process by which you created the Autobiographical drawings — did you have an idea in mind before pen hit paper, or was it more organic?
I never ever have an idea before starting a new piece of art. Concepts are always generated by feelings or emotions and a need to release them at that moment. That's how they start and I am always surprised at how they end. Once a drawing is completed, I turn the next page of my visual diary.
What materials to you use to make your drawings?
Very Basic. Standard number 2 pencils, pens, high quality Strathmore paper and a simple watercolor gouache kit.
Women frequently appear in your artwork, what is the reason for this?
My art always had elements and components of women's images and issues dating back to the early days of the Women's Liberation Movement. These drawings have always been a reflection of my emotions and mirror my daily life.
Why do you think art in libraries is important?
Libraries have given artists a wonderful opportunity to share their works with a large number of fellow New Yorkers throughout the city. I have found it especially rewarding to read my comments book and see how my work and feelings have connected with library visitors (especially children) at various branches throughout the city. I love the connection with the outside world beyond my inner world.
What are some of your favorite comments that you've received in your comment book?
"It reminds me of a dream I once had."
"I love your art and I love the Library."
"Freud would have a field day with you my dear. Your work is amazing and coupled with the ability to express it visually is a gift to us all."
"From a man looking in . . .
thank you for enlightening me."
"Your work is visually stunning. It reminds me of costume and stage design for ballet."
"Disturbing yet beautiful."
"So original and forth bringing. Being a graffiti artist your work is moving and one of a kind, keep it coming."
"It reminds me of something from Alice in Wonderland."
"Shel Silverstein meets Yellow Submarine."