Inspiration emanating from within and without

by MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
Inspiration can come from within and from without for an artist.
And both are the case for Lori Camilleri, who is one of the first artists to exhibit at Bare Bones’ new location at 156 School St.
The Central Connecticut State University graduate, with a degree in studio art, explained when it comes to inspiration for her art, “Most of my art reflects my interest in the human condition, Eastern philosophy and nature.”
She continued, “I think that many of paintings reflect our most private moments in contemplation, in both straightforward and symbolic ways.”
Lori said she is not trying to tell a story to the viewer with her work. Instead, she wants the viewer to find his/ her own story in her pieces.
“I find something that I consider beautiful or interesting. I paint it or I work with it in my mind, and I hope that people looking at my finished pieces… connect with it… For me, creating art is a way to express that which is difficult to verbalize. If I could tell it in a story, I’d be a writer.”
As for how her art work reflects who she is a person, Lori said, “Sometime’s it’s obvious, showing my love of Buddhism or affection for elephants. In a more subtle way, I think that many of my paintings reflect a loneliness that I’ve always felt.”
That said, “If I didn’t feel lonely, I don’t think I would be painting.”
Asked what kind of art draws her in as a viewer, Lori said, “I used to really love moody post-Impressionist artwork—pieces like Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream.’ Now after years of art history courses and working in a contemporary art gallery, I find that my tastes are very unpredictable. The common denominator is that I am almost always drawn to pieces that are immensely different from my own, or which seem to perfect encapsulate something that I’ve years to express myself.”
Lori said she first discovered her love for art when she was in fifth grade. “(I would) bring pieces in from home to show to my art teacher for criticism.”
“It wasn’t until I grew older,” Lori continued, “that I realized that my love of art was more than a passing child interest. It’s an extension of who I am. I walk through life thinking of the world around me as if it were a potential painting and wake up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas.”
Lori said painting has always been her preferred medium. “But watercolors have my heart.”
She explained ,”I love that (watercolors) require you to be precise yet relaxed. There are no mistakes in watercolor. Because I must really focus to create a successful watercolor… the world seems to fall away when I paint with it.”
Lori also said she also has an appreciation for collage. And she has been trying her hand at incorporating pieces of collage into her watercolors. An example of this is hanging at Bare Bones. The piece dubbed “Elephants” started as a watercolor then it evolved as she added graphite, water-soluble pencils and collage to the piece.
Lori, who has worked in gallery management, expressive arts, and art education, became part of Bare Bones thanks to her working relationship with organizer Michelle St. Pierre. The two of them both worked at CCSU’s art gallery.
“Having watched the efforts she and the other women of Bare Bones have been putting forth since they first began, I feel very honored to participate in the first art show at their new facility,” said Lori.
As for what’s next for Lori beyond her exhibit at Bare Bones, she said she is going to be pursuing her master’s in visual arts administration at New York University. She said, “I hope to not only share my own art with others, but to facilitate the success of organizations that use art to engage the community while promoting social and economic development.”
Bare Bones is at 156 School St., Bristol. For more information, go to Facebook.com/BareBones Bristol or www.BareBones Bristol.com