Honorable Mention: Cynthia Feustel, Colorado
What inspired your winning entry? The model was a student of mine from the time she was very young. She has an indescribable beauty and presence. Korean-born and adopted by American parents, she was always taught about her heritage. It was fitting to depict her in an authentic hanbok, which is a traditional Korean dress. I was told that her Korean name means “shine and hope,” which is revealed in the light illuminating her and in the strength of her posture.
Where did you study art? I studied art for one year at Pennsylvania State University before transferring to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where I received my degree in fashion illustration. The Art Institute provided me with the frequent experience of working from a live model. Even then the idea of drawing the human form was intriguing to me. Beyond that, I am primarily self-taught.
How would you describe your style? If I had to choose one term it would probably be contemporary realism, which advocates a simple, realistic style. I study my subject carefully and will sometimes interpret it using a more painterly approach. Other times I am more refined and detailed in my brushwork.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you? Many people know that I have worked for years as a commissioned portrait artist, but most don’t know that I also painted large murals on canvas. In my Pennsylvania studio, I always had scaffolding set up for my mural work. It was a great space where I also taught classes year round.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? It wasn’t actually advice, but in my first year at Penn State I had taken several art courses, and at my final portfolio review, the instructor told me my progress was “phenomenal.” That one word changed my career path and gave me the confidence to follow my dream.
What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? To be included in the Portrait Society of America exhibition, titled Inspiring Figures, at the Butler Institute of American Art. The exhibit showcased the human figure portrayed by American female artists. It was a great honor to be included in such an impressive show in an equally impressive venue.
What galleries represent your work? Turpin Gallery, Jackson, WY.
Featured in the December 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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