2020 Emerging Artist: Brooke Catania
What began at a young age as a way to spend quality time with her family, developed into a passion for local artist Brooke Catania. Her art evolved at Endicott College, where she got to explore her love of oil paints and earned her BFA. Catania was even selected to be in the AXA XL Art Prize, a national competition for college students who specifically work with figure; the finalists are selected by curators and directors from places including the MoMA, the Whitney, the MET and others. Catania says, “It was pretty unreal to have my work featured in a show that had over 500 submissions and only selected 40 finalists. It was, without a doubt, my biggest accomplishment as an artist thus far.”
“I always start a new painting and know exactly what I want it to look like. If I have an image in my head, I want it to come out exactly the way I see it. I don’t improvise as I go, a lot of artists are able to, but it’s not a method I choose,” says Catania. Catania loves the feeling of knowing she’s at her “maximum moment of creativity” when beginning a new painting. As a realist-based artist, who works primarily with portraiture, Catania always uses a photograph she has taken of a friend or family member as a starting point for her paintings. She says, “It’s something I don’t think I could ever get sick of. Every person looks different, so every painting is unique. I love capturing details and getting absorbed in my work for hours.” When it comes to her work, Catania’s medium of choice is always oil paints. “Oil paints just feel more natural to me when it comes to layering,” says Catania. She finds that what takes her the most time to complete is often the skin tone. “It’s difficult to get it right, you have to visualize the breakdown of the skin tones,” she explains. Catania estimates that it takes her about 30 hours to complete one painting.
Catania has found working with portraiture as a way to connect with someone without using spoken word. For Catania, it is a unique experience—a gift. Catania’s goal is to use her art to be more involved in the community by helping others grow their passion for art, while learning from them in return. She describes painting as a “meditative experience,” one she wishes to share with the world. – Christina Galt
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