About Celeste Rapone

About Celeste Rapone Celeste Rapone is a US artist who has just completed her Masters in Fine Art in Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a unique art school which is attached to a world-class museum. Her work has featured in Group exhibitions since 2007 and she has had 2 solo shows at the Phoenix Gallery, New York (2008) and the Chelsea Gallery, New York (2011). During her studies, Celeste had had success with Awards, Fellowships and has held Teaching posts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and more recently, her work featured in the well-known MFA as part of 108 Master of Fine Art (MFA) students in the 30,000 square feet of SAIC’s Sullivan galleries from April 13th – May 17th 2013. Celeste Rapone's Work My work is interested in the phenomenon of making memories. By constructing scopes that project future nostalgias, my paintings aim to channel a mundane hedonism, fueled by a cloud of expectations and threat of the ordinary. In drawing from the traditions of both the grand portrait, the still life and the DIY genre of decorative pattern painting, the paintings start in a place of 'pretty', and, in examining the subjects' dysfunctional relationship with their environment, become increasingly violated through the use of garish color, rough texture, and a surface sediment of opulent, store-bought, celebratory trash. Referencing holiday photographs, family portraits, and the materiality of disposable decor, my paintings attempt to create expected histories. What led you to your current direction in art? I have a strong belief in a painting's ability to transcend reality and to show how people connect with the world. I am consistently amazed with how painting renews the way I see, and the discoveries that develop from this renewal are what keep me in the studio. In terms of content, it seems that I always find myself at the intersection of hope and despair, and it is a constant challenge to have that push and pull reflected in the work. What's a typical session in your studio like? Lots of painting, and even more looking. I generally work on about 3-4 paintings at once, and Iwork for anywhere from 5-10 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. I often work on drawings in the interim to exercise a different part of my brain and to work quickly. The painting sessions alternate between quick, improvised movements and slower, calculated passages. I have a great interest in working in varying speeds to achieve multiple outcomes. What's the most important advice you've been given about art? Never stop painting. It’s silly, but it has stuck with me. How do you define success as an artist? Being in a position that allows my studio time each week to outweigh time spent on any other task. What piece of art has had the most profound influence on you? The earliest work I can remember that made me think differently about art making was probably Degas' ballerinas, and Manet's Olympia, Bar at the Folies Bergere, & Jesus Mocked by Soldier's. I was probably in junior high at the time and remember thinking that, in both of those artists' cases, the uncanny way the works were executed transcended the subject manner or narrative being depicted. These works were about color, form, surface, composition, and utilizing paint in a way that best described their own relationship to the subject. What caused you to choose your current medium of (oil, acrylic, etc.)? I started using oils as a Sophomore at RISD, and became immediately attracted to both the tactility of the medium and its history. Since then, I've dabbled in other mediums and have experimented with other methods of art making, but nothing seems to be as challenging or satisfying as painting in oils. I reached a point where I'd rather resolve an issue or make a discovery through paint than anything else.