Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cherie Mittenthal: Provincetown, Mass.


Artist Cherie Mittenthall

Please share a little about yourself. Where did you grow up and what were any early influences on your work? 

I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut. I was always with a sketchbook growing up. I was also a musician. It was a very difficult decision to decide to go into art or music. I played the oboe and saxophone. I decided that it might be easier to get a job if I majored in art and would continue playing music. Some of my early influences were Picasso, Nancy Spero, Anselm Keifer, Kathe Kolowitz, David Hockney & Antonio Frasconi—all really different artists.

Blue House with Seagrass
encaustic and marble dust on panel
16” x 16”, 2012

Harbor 5
encaustic on handmade paper
12” x 9”, 2012

Did you receive any formal art training? If yes, where and what did you major in? 

My training was mainly as a printmaker and bookmaker, I have my Bachelors of Fine Art from the Hartford Art School and my Masters of Fine Art from State University of New York, Purchase College in 1992. I’ve been painting ever since. For the past 20 years have been working predominantly with pigment stick on paper and in the last 9 years have been working with encaustic and other mixed media. And I try and take as many classes at Castle Hill as I can!!

Harbor 3 in Blues 
 encaustic on handmade paper 
12” x 9”, 2012

What is your current work about? 

I would say my most current work is about water and light. I am very interested in marrying materials and imagery. I work mainly in encaustic, wax and pigment stick and some other mixed mediums like tar, shellac, alcohol. I work on panels and also on handmade paper. I tend to work in series. I am very influenced by the color palette that I live in.

Foggy with Boat 
encaustic on handmade paper 
12” x 9”, 2012

What is your workspace like? 

My workspace is in my house and is somewhat small. It is in the 3rd floor loft, so there are some limitations, like the size I work and toxic materials I light on fire. Its great to have the convenience to be able to just go upstairs and paint.

Mittenthal's studio

Harbor 2
encaustic on handmade paper 
12” x 9”, 2012

Are you involved with any arts groups or communities? If yes, what do you gain from that affiliation and what do you contribute to it?

I am. I’m the Executive Director of Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.  I am lucky enough to be surrounded by great artists all the time. Challenging, watching, experimenting, learning, playing….this is a very exciting world to live in. 

Each winter I spend a full day in my studio as well as I try and spend a good part of the time making bowls and animals in clay. It is what keeps me exploring the 3 dimensional side of life. I love doing it, though running out of shelve space for bowls in my house.

I also do some teaching in encaustic at Castle Hill. I usually try to do a beginner workshop every year. I really enjoy teaching. Provincetown is a wonderful art community, I am surrounded by artists all the time. It’s a great place to live. I also show at Kobalt Gallery in Provincetown.

      Harbor with Breakwater
encaustic and mixed media on panel
16” x 16”, 2012

I enjoy the quiet and solitude of winter and the off season, then the complete opposite with the hub bub in the Spring and intensity of Summer. It helps that I’m a libra! I like the balance. I need the balance.

Landscape with Fence and Spaceship 
encaustic on handmade paper 
12” x 9”, 2012

How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?

I think the community is built on art openings, going out each Friday night and supporting your friends. See new art, watching for something new and exciting. Being part of, and seeing things develop. It’s a wonderful community for that. There was a group that was formed last year once a month to talk about each other’s art. Though I never ended up making it to the group, I really wanted to and this is the winter I will join it.

Crow on the Beach
encaustic on handmade paper 
20 x 16", 2012

Do you have jobs other than making art? If so, please give us some details.

Organizing events, 2 years ago Joanne Mattera, the founder and director of the International Encaustic Conference and I joined forces and we co-produce this pretty huge professional event, which revolves around encaustic. It has grown and gotten better each year. We are a great team. It’s a huge amount of work and a piece of art in itself. We are bringing hundreds of people together each year to share new methods in technique, talk about process, connect with professionals making art. Encaustic is the common thread though not the only theme.  There was also a new component about curating shows. Last year we organized 12 Provincetown Shows and 2 in Truro. One that I curated.  This year we are growing that concept and looking for people to think about curating shows and presenting them to Joanne and myself. All really good stuff.

I also am involved in the Provincetown Cultural Council.  I was the past chair but happy to just be a member of the committee now.

Oh, and walking my perfect dogs: Harpo and Lily.

You can see more of Cherie's work here:

Thank-you Cherie!!

1 comment:

lisa said...

Lovely interview !
Beautiful picture of Cherie